The pool in Newcastle made a loss of £260,000 per year and cabinet members voted to close it in September 2015.

Newcastle 2

Council cuts have forced a Newcastle pool to close its doors for the final time.

As Elswick Pool closed its doors for the final time on Saturday council workers moved in to board up the venue and install security fencing in a bid to deter vandals and thieves.

The pool closed after cabinet approved a contract for a private firm to run its four final leisure centres, East End Pool, Walker Activity Dome, Westgate Centre for Sport and All Saints Sports Centre, in September.

Elswick was not included in the deal as no operator would submit a bid for the service if it was included.

The pool makes a loss of £260,000 a year and despite the efforts of councillors and the community no way of reopening the venue has yet been found.

David Stockdale, cabinet member for communities and facilities at Newcastle City Council, said: “Regrettably Elswick Pool closed its doors to the public on Saturday evening.

“As planned the building will be mothballed while the council works with the community to give the pool a future.

“In the meantime to protect the building the Council have boarded up the windows and erected extensive fencing around the complex.

“The council has been in ongoing constructive talks with local groups, who are interested in taking the leisure facility forward.

“We are currently helping to provide the interested parties with details to compile a prospective business plan.

“We will continue to work hard in trying to secure the future of Elswick Pool for the people of Newcastle’s West End.”

Protestors gathered outside the pool dressed in Halloween-inspired outfits including the grim reaper and the ghost of Elswick Pool.

Newcastle

Diane Tait, a member of Parents Against Cuts Newcastle, said: “It was really sad, it was a shock seeing it boarded up even though we knew it would close.

“We’re speaking to a couple of groups, the council is wanting to push us in one direction – we are talking but we are not committing to it.

“It might not be possible for financial reasons but we’d like it to be community focussed.”

The final stand aimed at highlighting the need for the pool in an area where campaigners have said some families would struggle to afford using public transport across the city.

However, a Sport England survey of the city’s ‘built facilities’ revealed there is an ‘adequate’ number of swimming pools in Newcastle.

The report was compiled before Elswick Pool was confirmed as facing closure but also before the news the City Baths would reopen its doors.

Original article is here.

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