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'A real breakthrough' - council backs push for town's first public swimming pool

PUBLISHED: 14:45 04 August 2019

Land near the Green Britain Centre, which closed suddenly last year, has been earmarked for Swaffham's first public swimming pool. Picture: Ian Burt

Land near the Green Britain Centre, which closed suddenly last year, has been earmarked for Swaffham's first public swimming pool. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2013

The campaign for a town to get its first public swimming pool has received a boost following a letter of support from the district council.

Writing to Swaffham Swimming Pool Association (SPA), Breckland leader Sam Chapman-Allen said the council would back campaigners in their pursuit of a public pool in the town.

But the authority stopped short of offering financial support, stating it is "not in a position" to pump funds into the project.

Since the 1990s, residents have been fighting for the construction of a swimming pool which would prevent swimmers from having to travel to Dereham or Downham Market.

Land at the old Green Britain Centre on Turbine Road has previously been earmarked for development and, last month, its future was secured as Swaffham Town Council voted to renew its ownership.

In his letter to the SPA following June's cabinet meeting, Mr Chapman-Allen said the council will endeavour to back the association - despite not delivering the pool itself.

He added: "As a district council, we are very supportive of initiatives which promote healthy lifestyles and enhance local leisure opportunities for residents and visitors.

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"At the cabinet meeting I agreed to send this letter of support for your efforts to deliver a swimming pool in the town.

"It is intended that this letter can demonstrate that the district council is supportive of your work when you are talking to potential funders, supporters and sponsors."

A further statement from the council confirmed it would not take direct responsibility in delivering a pool in Swaffham, which only has a private facility at Sacred Heart School.

Rachel Brooks, an SPA trustee, said the district council's backing was a sign of progress.

"It's a significant step and it feels like a real breakthrough," added Miss Brooks. "We're doing our best to stay optimistic.

"A pool would be the most fantastic thing for Swaffham. There are so many groups who would benefit and it would be such a brilliant asset.

"Right now we're feeling refreshed and reinvigorated, like we have a new lease of life. We'll keeping everything crossed and we aren't the kind of group to give up."

Ed Colman, district and county councillor for Swaffham, said he welcomed the council's decision to back the campaign and was looking forward to "working closely" with the SPA over the coming months.

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