A POPULAR Redditch swimming pool, where hundreds of children have learnt vital lifesaving skills, is closing following council cutbacks.
Kingsley Sport Centre, home of the Bridge Swimming Club for more than 40 years, is set pull the plug on its swimming facilities on September 24, leaving swimmers and coaches devastated.
The council is to give up its share of the venue after cuts to its support grants which have seen Redditch go from receiving £4million to, by 2021, paying an estimated £300,000 back to the Treasury.
The measure to surrender its interests in the Kingsley and Arrow Vale sports centres is expected to net the authority a saving of nearly £150,000.
It had been hoped the pool might be adopted by another body – such as a business or school – but this hasn’t happened.
From October 2 the ‘dry side’ leisure facilities at Kingsley, by Tudor Grange Academy will be available to hire from School Lettings Solutions (SLS) and the facilities at Arrow Vale, by RSA Arrow Vale, will be available via local sports coaching company P&E Sports.
The changes were set out in a letter from Dave Wheeler, Redditch Borough Council‘s sports service manager, to all groups booking facilities at the centres.
He said: “Our highest priority has been to ensure continuity for as many of our local community hirers as possible across the change, and so we’ve worked alongside both academies to make the change in management as smooth as we can.”
The borough council’s dual use agreements for the school sites expires on October 1.
Councillor Pat Witherspoon, Redditch Borough Council’s portfolio holder for leisure, said: “Many people have benefited from the fruitful partnership we’ve had with the schools over the years, but the funding cuts we face are relentless.”
The Bridge Swimming Club has been transforming the lives of youngsters from across the borough at the Kingsley pool for decades, and club members have been invited to relocate to the Abbey Stadium from September 25.