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Community pools saved at last?

John Freeman
January's Lancaster City Council's Cabinet meeting next week is expected to decide to save the District's community swimming pools at Carnforth, Heysham and Hornby, currently operated by the City Council in a partnership agreement with the County Council.

Steps taken by the County Council that will enable the City Council to keep these facilities open – and also provide additional funding for other community and cultural facilities – were first announced on 28th January last year.

Discussions have been ongoing between the city and county council and this month, Cabinet is being asked to consider the rescinding of the city council's decision to withdraw from managing the pools on Lancashire County Council's behalf.

If Cabinet agree to rescind the decision (subject to call in), Lancaster City Council will continue to manage the pools.

While this is hopefully great news for pool users, City Councillor Roger Mace told virtual-lancaster he is bemused by the delay.

"Why has it taken nearly a year to accept that offer from the Conservative-led County Council to help the City to find the funding necessary to continue operating these pools?" he asks.

But the City Council point out that while it may appear it's taken some time to reach this point, both they and the County Council agreed a year ago to bring forward options on shared services that would save the city council up to £300,000.

"We now have in place plans that will deliver savings from April that more than cover the cost of the pools," Chief Executive Mark Cullinan told virtual-lancaster, "which is why having worked on this issue for a year we are now in a position to make that decision."

Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council began working together to find a way to ensure that the community swimming pools at Carnforth, Heysham and Hornby remained open for the benefit of local residents last March.

"We are looking at how we can share services or work on joint initiatives to save money for the city council," Councillor Stuart Langhorn, Leader of Lancaster City Council and Councillor Geoff Driver, Leader of Lancashire County Council said then in a joint statement, "and ease pressures on its finances and this should release sufficient resources to keep the pools open."

View the Agenda and documents for the Cabinet meeting on 18th January