Re: Carnforth Swimming Pool
A number of you have written to me to express your concerns regarding ongoing developments at Carnforth Swimming Pool and have asked me to provide an update on what is happening. Although the pool itself is not a Parliamentary issue I have been able to investigate with the bodies responsible for its operation in order to provide an update.
The pool in Carnforth is owned by Lancashire County Council and is operated on their behalf by Lancaster City Council. During the Council’s budget process the Councillors decided that they would cease to operate all of the three community pools Hornby, Carnforth and Heysham. Lancaster City Council worked with Sport England to commission a feasibility study into the pools and it was found that both Heysham and Carnforth were viable assets and they could be taken over. The Council then approached both Heysham High School and Carnforth High School with a view to them taking over the running of the pool, which they were both interested in doing as the pools are on their site.
Carnforth High School indicated that they would only seek to take over the pool if works could be done to connect the pool with the gym at the School so they could be operated as one entity. In light of this decision the Council agreed to carry on funding the pools beyond April 2017 until 30th September 2017 to allow the School to get their proposals together and for the asset transfer to take place.
To date the School have been working with Sport England who have paid for architects to draw up plans to connect the pool and the gym. So far there has not been a proposal drawn up which matches the maximum funding Sport England are permitted to give to facilitate community asset transfers and therefore no formal bid for this funding has been submitted. I believe that at Heysham High School a local builder has been able to provide a quote which matches the funding requirements but at Carnforth this is still being investigated.
I believe that the pool was costing £80,000 a year to run and without being able to join the pool to the School Carnforth High School will not be able to take on the pool due to legislation which prevents schools from taking on a debt and running a deficit. If the pool cannot be joined onto the gym then another operator must be found.
Carnforth Town Council is looking to put together a group who would be interested in taking the pool over in this circumstance. They must prove wide ranging community support for the pool and that they have a large group from the community willing to help run the facility, before they are able to enact a community asset transfer. If this becomes the only option it is imperative that as many people who would like to keep the pool open come forward and assist the town council. If you are interested in assisting this group please contact the Clerk of the Council Phil Charnley email@example.com.
I am obviously fully supportive of the pools staying open and whist as the Member of Parliament I have no formal authority to assert in such cases I will do everything in my power to assist the groups working to ensure the pool remains open. I will be meeting Sport England shortly and I will give my full support to any applications made by the school or the community to keep the pool open.
David Morris MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale