Arena swimming pool closed: your comments

The closure of The Arena Sports Centre’s swimming pool was announced last week after owners said it was no longer viable to continue operating the facility – here’s everything you had to say about it.

“My son is gutted, he does his swimming lessons here and we can’t get anywhere else.” So said, Ruth Donaldson in a comment on the Bognor Regis Observer’s Facebook page last week.

The closure of the swimming pool, announced last week, prompted similar responses from readers across our town.

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Opened in 1999, the sports centre’s pool is the only public pool in town outside of the Arun Leisure Centre. It’s closure means children and adults will have to travel further afield for swimming sessions and tuition, which simply isn’t possible for everyone.

The Arena Sports Centre in Bognor Regis. Photo: Google Maps.

"This is such a shame,” said Kerry Rawlings. “My kids do swimming at school here and my significant other had lessons as well. I do hope the pool can get the investment it needs.”

Some felt the closure of the pool is inextricable from the legacy of the pandemic. Covid-19 restrictions have made it harder to get a safe swim session booked, and so many former swimmers have found the pool difficult to access.

"I’ve tried to go for a while but since covid the only reply I get is ‘we don’t do single swims any more you have to hire the pool, £30 or £35 I was told, which is not possible with just 2 children wanting to swim,” said former user Faye Homer.

“I can’t imagine a lot of families at the moment can afford to hire a whole pool. Shame as it’s a pool right round the corner, hopefully it will reopen one day.”

In the original announcement post, staff at the sports centre attributed the closure to “the increasing cost of facilities,” and the demands of “recovering from Covid-19.”

Attempts are being made, however, to reopen the facility. The post said staff are hoping to have the swimming pool operational by September, with the help of a third party, although no firm date has yet been decided.

"Negotiations and legal requirements are being investigated,” the update reads. “The external parties are in a position to heavily invest in the swimming pool to get it to a positive place.”

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Bognor Regis sports centre forced to close swimming pool