Open air pool finds friends

A SPECIAL 'Friends of Portishead Open Air Pool group' has been set up in a bid to save the seafront attraction from possible closure. The group, made up of swimmers and local residents, was formed after North Somerset Council purseholders revealed the fut

A SPECIAL 'Friends of Portishead Open Air Pool group' has been set up in a bid to save the seafront attraction from possible closure.The group, made up of swimmers and local residents, was formed after North Somerset Council purseholders revealed the future of the pool was under threat as it tries to save cash and balance its books.The pool, which opens between May and September and is run by contractors D C Leisure, costs North Somerset Council a total of £316,370 to run each year, with the authority receiving just £3,900 in revenue from the seafront attraction. The true costs of running the pool - the equivalent of £19,773 for every week it is open - were revealed earlier this year following investigations by North Somerset Council Community Services Policy and Scrutiny Panel, which said the only way of reducing the costs of the pool was to close it.Friends of Portishead Open Air Pool group spokesman Tonia Carless said: "The pool is a fabulous asset to the town."I have been using the pool for eight years now and North Somerset Council has plainly been allowing it to fall into disrepair and their policies for its use actively seek to run it down further. Right now outdoor swimming is becoming more and more popular, with new facilities being built in London and older pools and lidos being preserved."How short-sighted it would be for Portishead to allow anything to happen to its wonderful pool."Mrs Carless said she hoped other people would join the group to campaign against any possible closure plans.She added: "I founded the group with the hope of helping to keep the pool open to the public and to prevent it becoming yet another site sold off to developers and this wonderful facility being lost forever. We want to keep swimming in the fresh air of Portishead."Local councillors said they were also keen to see the pool, which was built in the 1960s, retained.Portishead councillor David Pasley said: "Once an amenity like the pool is lost, it is lost forever."Anyone wanting to support the Friends of Portishead Open Air Pool should contact portishead.openairpool@googlemail.com


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