Blow for new £1m Calderdale swimming pool as plans are refused

Trustees for a Calderdale swimming pool association will have to look for another site following a decision not to allow one to be built next to a village’s community centre.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Saturday, 13th February 2021, 8:00 am
Mytholmroyd community centre
Mytholmroyd community centre

Honorary secretary of Hebden Royd and District Swimming Pool Association, Richard Marshall, said Mytholmroyd Commnuity Association trustees had decided not to allow land on the car park at the Caldene Avenue centre to be used as a site.

This was despite an agreement made some years ago between both sets of trustees, with the approval of the Charity Commssion, to allow a pool to be built there, an ambition of the Hebden Royd community for over a century, he said.

The decision, said Mr Marshall, had left him “gobsmacked.”

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But community association trustees say having looked into the issue carefully they do not believe they could afford to run a swimming pool.

“The decision was not taken lightly,” said a spokesperson for the trustees.

The spokesperson said there had been concern for some time and the majority of trustees now were not trustees when an agreement was made.

They could not find anything in their records to confirm it though they believed there was a verbal agreement.

Community association trustees had researched a comparable pool in Tadcaster, which unlike Mytholmroyd had no pools nearby as competition – Sowerby Bridge and Todmorden are each only a few miles from the village.

The Tadcaster pool used high numbers of volunteers and even a small number of paid staff meant a £100,000 annual wage bill.

Community association trustees estimated building a pool would cost around £3 million and it had been suggested the community centre’s staff would run it.

They did not believe this was feasible and it was a risk they could not take.

“The community centre does not have a lot of money and can’t afford to take up the running costs of this,” the spokesperson said.

Mr Marshall said he was not giving up yet.

“The trustees of Hebden Royd and District Swimming Pool Association are extremely disappointed at the decision taken by the trustees of Mytholmroyd Community Association not to allow a pool to be built on the community centre car park, because they say all swimming pools lose money.

“I hope we will be able to persuade them to change their minds when we next meet,” he said.

Mr Marshall said the swimming pool association had around £1 million which was ring-fenced money for the project, had spent around £100,000 working up plans for the site with architects, and believed a pool was a perfect fit for the centre.