I have heard recently about the plight of local swimmers in relation to the fate of the Portishead open air swimming pool. It may give local campaigners fresh energy in their struggle to hear about our efforts in Banbury to have a well-loved 50 metre ope
I have heard recently about the plight of local swimmers in relation to the fate of the Portishead open air swimming pool. It may give local campaigners fresh energy in their struggle to hear about our efforts in Banbury to have a well-loved 50 metre open air pool re-opened after it was condemned by the local council. The Woodgreen Pool was the gift of a local philanthropist to the people of Banbury in 1939 with a covenant attached that forbade the land being used for any other purpose than swimming.Under one management or another it remained open until 2002, when health and safety officers decreed that repairs needed to be carried out to safeguard the public. Those repairs were done, but badly. The pool was closed again and remained so, with rumours flying around about it being filled in and sold to developers.A swimmers' group began to campaign with a mass meeting outside council offices, protest petitions, rousing the local press and lobbying local councillors. At first there was no response, but in the last two years a change of heart was apparent. Eventually the council turned the fate of the pool over to a scrutiny panel, which reported firmly that the pool was needed, should be generously re-financed and re-opened.The council has voted for a £1,750 budget to carry out the necessary work and also provide income support. The plan is to re-open in 2009.If it had not been for the huge pressure of local public opinion, strongly stated and often repeated, this would not have happened. I think the spirit of the campaigners for Portishead should be lifted by this turn around. The fight back is worth it.Derrick Knight - Convenor, Woodgreen Swimming and User Group, Queens Road, Banbury.