Campaigners vow to save Ringmer Pool from closing

Duncan Kerr, Philip Daniel and Malcolm Welsh
Duncan Kerr, Philip Daniel and Malcolm Welsh

Swimmers and activists plan to fight a threat to close Ringmer’s swimming pool.

Almost 100 people packed the village hall on Wednesday night to state they want the pool to stay open if East Sussex County Council (ESCC) refuses to fund it when the current contract expires on March 31.

The pool, built in the 1970s through community fund-raising, nearly closed this year when Wave Leisure’s 10-year contract ended. ESCC renewed it for one year, but with pressure on budgets, the £53,000 public funding the pool relies on is not guaranteed beyond March 2020.

Ringmer’s county councillor Philip Daniel said: “The best option would be a continuation of the current funding arrangement, but we already have a £15 million deficit in a budget of £375m, so finding money from April will be a challenge.”

Wave Leisure’s CE Duncan Kerr added: “Our ambition is to keep the pool open.” But he admitted to financial pressures and safeguarding requirements, which made the trust originally decide it was not worth bidding to run Ringmer pool.

District and parish councillors attended plus leaders from Ringmer Primary School and Kings Academy, site of the pool. Also there were people who had raised money to build it. Principal Sian Williams said Kings already contributes to running costs and utility bills, and offered to coordinate lifeguard training if that would break a logjam.

Organisers said the event laid ground for a forum grouping users and residents who see its value. The meeting was hosted by Ringmer’s Liberal Democrats but run as a non party political event. LibDems say they want any forum run independently of a political party.

Meeting chair Malcolm Welsh said: “This is intended to be the first of a few such forums. We’re not saying the pool is going to close, but as that’s a possibility, let’s be ready in case it becomes a real threat.” Swimmers and activists plan to fight a threat to close Ringmer’s swimming pool.