Fleetwood MP Cat Smith raises closure of town's pool in the Commons
Addressing Nigel Huddleston MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), she said: "Our swimming pool has been closed since the beginning of the first lockdown and was not reopened when restrictions allowed it to be.
"Wyre Council and the YMCA who run it keep telling me that they are concerned about the level of footfall not being financially viable for the reopening of the pool - so can I ask the Minister what conversations he has had with Treasury colleagues about financial support for swimming pools in areas of deprivation?”
Ms Smith, the Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, launched a campaign earlier in the year asking the operators to re-open Fleetwood pool when it was safe to do so following the first lockdown.
Within 24 hours more than 3,000 local residents had signed the petition.
Although amenities such as pools will now be subject to the latest lockdown restrictions brought in today, Ms Smith says she is concerned that the Fleetwood pool has been closed for more than six months and is not expected to reopen when the lockdown is scheduled to end on December 2.
Wyre Council says it is keen to reopen the pool but the ongoing pandmic has been financially challenging.
The MP said she was concerned about the impact this is having on school children – many of whom have not now had a swimming lesson for the majority of 2020.
And she added that, for many residents, swimming offered a low impact form of exercise that couldn’t be accessed otherwise and provided help with mental ill health or to lose weight.
The Minister told Ms Smith that he completely understood the challenges facing many leisure facilities right across the country.
Mr Huddletson said: “Some of them have been able to open, some of them haven't, some are open but we are aware they are in a precarious financial state.
"The DCMS is working closely with Sport England and MHCLG on the design of a £100m scheme to help leisure centres and leisure facilities.
"Further details of this will be released shortly, and once the fund is open we urge leisure centres to bid for the money and people to make the most of these precious facilities.”
A spokesman for Wyre Council commented: “The council has been working collaboratively with the Fylde Coast YMCA to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and support a sustainable future for the leisure centres by committing to fund over £630,000 of costs in 2020/21.
"We want the pool to reopen but with the latest national restrictions and the centres having to close their doors once again this remains financially challenging.”
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