Hundreds of people have backed a campaign for a new Kettering swimming pool to replace the city’s “woefully inadequate” facilities.
The current London Road Pool was opened in 1984 and is just on the way to reaching the pool’s average lifespan of 38 years.
It has required expensive investments in recent years – having been forced to close in 2017 after ceiling panels fell into the water – and now has a roof that leaks in several places.
But despite the councilors’ commitment to consider building a new swimming pool and the warning that it had to be high on the agenda, hopes of a new swimming pool for the city were woeful. nowhere.
Mike Annable, president of the Kettering Amateur Swimming Club (KASC), started a âNew Pool for Ketteringâ petition – and last night (Tuesday) nearly 500 people signed it.
The petition calls on North Northamptonshire Council to provide a learning pool for Kettering and to undertake a feasibility study on the long term future of the Kettering pool and local water supply.
He said: âA parent in Kettering who wants their child to learn to swim has a difficult choice.
“They can learn in deep water at the Kettering Pool or they can go to Corby, Wellingborough or Market Harborough where they can access a teaching and learning pool.”
He added that KASC had to hold their recent club championships in the Corby International Pool due to Kettering’s limited spectator space.
Since the turn of the century, shiny new swimming pools have been built in other towns in northern Northamptonshire, but desperate calls for a new swimming pool in Kettering have come to naught.
This despite a 2018 assessment which found that the water space for swimming in Kettering was only 4.6 mÂ² per 1,000 people.
This was significantly less than its neighboring areas – 15.7mÂ² per 1,000 people in Corby, 14mÂ² per 1,000 people in East Northants and 12.7mÂ² per 1,000 people in Wellingborough (2016).
Last year, a strategy released by KBC said new and improved swimming facilities and a larger pool should be a priority for NNC.
But, despite the investment in the London Road Pool, the new authority is still not close to committing to looking to replace the aging facility.
A spokesperson for the North Northamptonshire Council said: ‘We have recently invested in public spaces and behind the scenes to improve the quality of Kettering’s pool and facilities, with new changing rooms, accessible facilities, pool repairs , ventilation upgrades and new showers along with a new heating and filtration system to improve water quality. A capital work program is underway for roof repairs.
âA reflection on the future provision of all leisure facilities in North Northamptonshire will be undertaken with planning colleagues as part of the process of developing the plan.
“This will take into account the policies published last year by the Kettering Borough Council on sports facilities strategy.”
At a meeting last month, Kettering city council agreed to try to persuade NNC to invest in work on the pool, after a Tory amendment to a similar Labor Group motion.
Cllr Clark Mitchell (Lab) said the city’s swimming pool was “in dire need of renovation”.
He said any decision on a new swimming pool shouldn’t come down to the possibility of making a profit – and said providing swimming pools was a vital service, as were garbage collections and highway works.
He said: âOur job as public servants is to provide the taxpayer with the services he deserves and needs.
âKettering is the largest urban area in northern Northamptonshire and arguably the main town.
âWith the developments in East Kettering, we keep growing, but our services are stagnant. “
Cllr Bev Wright (Lab) admitted that finding a site for a new swimming pool would not be easy and said there are opportunities to build one – like at Cransley Park, Hanwood Park or the old Rockingham Road football stadium – had been missed.
She added: âSome will undoubtedly say that there is no such thing as a magic money tree.
“It is true, but it is a question of priorities and [they] seems to have found one for the Chester [House] Estate, so it can be done. “