Response to Ringmer Swimming Pool petition ‘not reassuring’

Ringmer Swimming Pool
Ringmer Swimming Pool

Calls for a guarantee that Ringmer Swimming Pool will remain open is set to be discussed by county councillors next week.

The facility is used by the academy during school term time hours and is open for community use outside of academy hours.

It is owned by East Sussex County Council and run by Wave Leisure.

A concessions contract for the swimming pool expired in March 2019 but the county council was not able to identify any interested party to award a new contract to.

It has put in place a one-year extension with the current provider until March 2020 to enable further negotiations with interested providers.

Earlier this year a petition was signed by more than 140 residents calling on the county council to guarantee the pool would remain open and before any decision is taken that would result in a significant reduction in community availability it would discuss all options with residents, the school and other authorities.

The petition is due to be discussed by the lead member for resources on Tuesday (June 25).

Officers are recommending that the petitioners are advised the county council:

• Is not able to guarantee that Ringmer Swimming Pool will remain open as it considers funding decisions as part of an annual prioritisation process

• Are reviewing arrangements post March 2020 as there is a need for new contract arrangements

• Agree that any proposed changes that may impact on community availability would be subject to consultation and this would include all relevant stakeholders.

Lib Dem Philip Daniel, Ringmer and Lewes Bridge county councillor, taught some of his children to swim at the pool and said its future ‘matters to residents in Ringmer and beyond and to me personally’.

He added: “In responding to this petition it’s not enough for ESCC simply to roll the response up into the annual budget process. In view of the pressure on county finances that response isn’t reassuring.

“Consultation on budget cuts tends to come only after the budget has been set. The Ringmer Swimming Pool is a vital part of the community and, if it’s under threat, consultation needs to start now.”