National champion club in plea to designers over new Halifax swimming pool and leisure centre

A national champion swimming club is appealing to Calderdale Council to consider the needs of organisations during design work for a new pool in Calderdale.

Monday, 28th June 2021, 3:54 pm
Artist impression of Halifax swimming pool and leisure centre

The official closure of Halifax Swimming Pool, Skircoat Road, earlier this year has caused issues for some of the swimmers who used it.

The pool had been closed through the pandemic and due to repair and cost issues the council confirmed earlier this year it would not be reopening, with plans for a new leisure centre with pool on the site of the existing one at North Bridge, Halifax.

But closing the old pool, and with the prospect of a new one not in place for a while, has caused clubs problems, said Michelle Hallam of Halifax Synchronised Swimming Club.

The club, which has been British champions, trained at the pool and she says alternative arrangements offered are unsatisfactory.

Michelle said the club had been offered a late Thursday afternoon, 4pm to 5.30pm, slot at Todmorden Leisure Centre pool but the 12-mile distance away means this is “impossible” for working parents to get to on time.

She also said the club was being charged “considerably more” for the membership to cover the move, for less pool time.

It was also more expensive than hiring the pool at private Rishworth School, which they have been doing recently, she said.

The club is also concerned for the future, particularly whether the pool dimensions at the planned leisure centre, including its depth, would meet their training requirements, and others used the old pool, including Halifax Diving Club.

She called on the council to review the situation.

“Help us to get back to proper training at the rates we used to pay, and at a more central location, and most importantly to review the new pools plans, to accommodate all our young people who train there,” she said.

The council’s Cabinet member for Regeneration and Strategy, Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot) said plans are progressing for a new multi-million-pound, state-of-the-art swimming pool and leisure centre which would have a wide range of “first-class” facilities.

“This will benefit people’s health and wellbeing, add to the regeneration of Calderdale and help address climate change through the new centre’s energy efficient and carbon footprint reducing features,” she said.

Cabinet colleague Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park) said issues arising from the old pool’s closure were understood.

“We know that local people will be missing the facilities at Halifax Pool since we had to close the building, after it became unviable due to serious, extensive damage.

“We have been in regular contact with Halifax Synchronised Swimming Club and have offered them alternative sessions at our pools in Todmorden, Sowerby Bridge and Brighouse, as well as discounted rates.

“We are keen to support local clubs and are happy to have further discussions with Halifax Synchronised Swimming Club about their options,” she said.