Lifeline for two pools as third looks set to close

Carnforth swimming pool.
Carnforth swimming pool.
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The future looks bleak for Hornby swimming pool but is brighter for Heysham’s and Carnforth’s.

Hornby Focus School has “withdrawn its initial interest” in taking over the village pool, said Lancaster City Council.

The council said this was because Hornby pool “lacks the sort of additional leisure facilities that could help to make it a viable concern”.

We contacted the school but had received no comment as we went to press.

The city council will no longer run the pool from March 31, meaning it will be handed back to owners Lancashire County Council.

The county council will then make a final decision on the pool’s future, with closure an option.

Meanwhile Carnforth High and Heysham High schools are working on business plans to keep their pools open.

Coun John Reynolds, a Labour city councillor for Carnforth, said he was “delighted” that a deal to keep it open was on the table.

“Carnforth pool is at the heart of the community,” said Coun Reynolds.

“As a child, I myself learned to swim there, and both my children did too. My residents were very clear that they wanted to see the pool saved.”

It costs Lancaster City Council £176,700 every year to run the three pools. The council said this was “an unsustainable amount in light of Government cutbacks and spending reductions”.

Coun Darren Clifford, Cabinet member for sport and leisure, said the city council would cease running Hornby pool “with a heavy heart”.

“This district has been fortunate to have four council-run swimming pools for a number of years, at a time when many councils across the country have rationalised their own offer to just one,” said Coun Clifford.

“Unfortunately we can’t make the finances at the small community pools stack up. We’re hopeful that in the case of Carnforth and Heysham they will be taken on by the local schools and they will be funded until the end of September so work on putting together the business case can continue.”