Petition for new Kettering swimming pool handed to council
More than 1,000 people have backed calls for a new swimming pool in Kettering.
Kettering Council disbanded a research group tasked with investigating its feasibility in February after claims they were burying their head in the sand more than two years after promising to look into it.
They instead decided to pump £140,000 into the tired current pool in London Road which is 35-years-old.
Kettering Amateur Swimming Club (KASC) started a petition calling on the council to reconsider their investment priorities to include a new pool for the borough.
And the petition, with 1,250 signatures, was presented to the council last week.
Club chairman Mike Annable said: "Kettering Amateur Swimming Club is 105-years-old.
"Half of the money we spend on pool hire goes outside of the borough. A third of our pool training takes place outside of the borough. We hold our club championships outside of the borough.
"Our recruitment is limited by the pool time we have access to and by the condition of our home facility. We are currently looking for additional pool time – outside of the borough.
"At what point do we cease to be Kettering’s swimming club?"
Kettering's pool was closed for two months in 2017 after a piece of ceiling caved in. Fortunately nobody was injured.
Since the turn of the millennium shiny new pools have opened in Corby and Wellingborough.
But, with Kettering Council set to be abolished and replaced with a unitary authority for the north of the county, plans for a new pool in Kettering are not on the agenda.
Mr Annable added: "We believe that time is of the essence. Decisions on investment are being made now.
"Kettering needs, and the community wants, a new swimming pool.
"It is imperative that this council acts to include a new swimming pool in its infrastructure plans before the new authority is in place."
One of those to back the petition was Kettering Council's opposition leader Cllr Mick Scrimshaw (Lab).
He said: "For several years now my Labour colleagues and I have desperately tried to start a discussion about whether or not a replacement pool for Kettering is needed or feasible.
"So far no serious discussions have happened and those questions remain unanswered."
Those who signed the petition said Kettering was being left behind.
Caroline Wilson said: "Kettering deserves to be on an equal footing with the other towns in the county."
Merle Ginns said: "Kettering is behind the times. Children need to learn how to swim. There are hardly any activities for children in Kettering. Also people have to go to Corby or Market
Harborough as their facilities are far more superior to ours."
And Colette Day said: "A new pool will bring much needed enthusiasm for our dying town."
A Kettering Council spokesman said: “Cllr Scott Edwards (Con) thanked Mr Annable for his work in organising and attracting support for the petition.
"He noted that Kettering Council would be publishing its sports facility strategy later in the year and would be including swimming provision in the borough within this document.
"This would also take into account the petition and requirements of the residents before being submitted to the executive committee.”