Top ranked Halifax swimming club make plea as councillors to decide on leisure centre plans

Young members and families of the Halifax Synchronised Swimming Club are pleading with their councillors not to go ahead with the planned new leisure centre, after their original pool in Halifax was closed in March 2020

By News Reporter
Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 10:05 am

The club say the pool at the planned new leisure centre on the current North Bridge site is inadequate for their needs as it is a basic pool without deep water, diving boards or facilities which the club used to access at Halifax

The controversial plans were given the go-ahead by Calderdale Council’s planning committee and the club say they were not consulted about the plans until after the designs were published and the Council said it was too late and costly to amend them.

The club, currently ranked third in the country, has recently been training in Todmorden Pool, which they say is a much smaller pool without competition-standard facilities.

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Gold medal winning members of Halifax Synchronised Swimming Club

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A private school pool is also hired by the club but the combination of this additional cost and distance means that 70 members have already had to stop training in this sport and the remaining 45 members are unable to commit to these venues in the long-term the club say.

The club has said they have now secured the services of the National Head of Public Law at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, Yogi Amin, to advise them on whether they have the ability to request a Judicial Review of this case and prevent Calderdale Council from going ahead and he has sent a letter to the Leader of Calderdale Council, requesting that he share that with all the Councillors ahead of a vote at the Council meeting tonight (February 9).

Kirsty McGregor, committee member at the club, said if the Council vote to go ahead with the current plans and start construction, this will mean that deep water is omitted from the new pool, rendering the future of the Synchronised Swimmers uncertain and the likely closure of the club.

“We believe that the Council is discriminating against this sport which is almost exclusively carried out by young and teenage girls," she said.

"If it wanted to support opportunities for all members of the local population, it could have been more ambitious in its designs and funded the higher cost using a larger grant which was available from the Government’s Levelling Up fund, which we know was available and would be supported by both the local Labour MP, Holly Lynch and also the Conservative MP, Craig Whittaker.

"As Swim England’s CEO, Jane Nickerson, has stressed to the Leader of the Council, this is a highly successful club and has already achieved great things. In this group of young and teenage girls where the dropout rate for competitive sport is disproportionately high, this sport in Halifax should be celebrated and protected.”

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