Positive feelings on future of Abbey Fields’ outdoor pool after meeting

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Concerned Kenilworth swimmers say they feel more positive after discussing the future of Abbey Fields’ outdoor pool with Warwick District Council.

Jane Green, who started a petition to help save the outdoor pool, along with other interested swimmers met with Cllr Michael Coker, and officers Rose Winship and Padraig Herlihy to discuss their concerns on Tuesday November 8.

Jane felt the meeting went very well, leaving her feeling a lot better about the pool’s future.

She said: “It was a really good meeting, and it was great to actually speak to people about it in such depth.

“I think the great support we’ve had already for keeping the pool open has been recognised by the council and we’re hopeful that they will now be looking at ways to keep it open or even improve it.

“A lot more people are now aware of the pool so for next year we have put forward proposals to increase its use, such as longer opening hours, particularly at weekends and hot days, and better publicity for when it is open.

“We would also like to see different types of sessions for different groups of people, such as early risers, evening swims with other activities such as barbecues and music, and fun sessions for juniors.

“We would also like to see the pool opening for around six months of the year rather than the two to three at present.”

At a press briefing about new district council leisure centres, officers confirmed Kenilworth would not be left behind after significant investment into Newbold Comyn in Leamington and St Nicholas Park in Warwick.

District council-owned facilities in Abbey Fields and Castle Farm are set to be improved, but no formal plans have been drawn up yet.

Cllr Michael Coker, portfolio holder for culture, said a lot of the plans in Kenilworth depend on the district’s Local Plan being approved.

And leader of the council Cllr Andrew Mobbs said the petition to save the pool was premature since plans had not been formalised yet.

The two centres in Leamington and Warwick will open in November 2017, and the council aim to follow with improvements to Kenilworth’s facilities soon after that.

Work to improve the centres will start in December 2016 and January 2017 respectively.

Newbold Comyn will take 50 weeks to build, and a 44 week plan has been drawn up for St Nicholas’ Park.

The work will cost over £15 million including a Sport England grant worth £2 million to cover some of the costs.

Both pools will be closed at the same time for 22 weeks from January 2017 as part of the works, which officers admitted would be an unpopular decision.

They said this would mean the centres could reopen sooner rather than later.