Costly Battle swimming pool to close for good

COUNCILLORS have taken the ‘heart-rending’ decision to close Battle’s only community swimming pool after it was revealed it needed to spend tens of thousands of pounds to get it up to standard.

The open air pool at Claverham Community College in North Trade Road has been enjoyed by pupils for more than 40 years and was opened to the wider community for out-of-school hours use in 1986.

But the facility has been out of action for the past two summer seasons, due to health and safety concerns, with the surface structure of the pool requiring urgent remedial work, costing around £50,000.

A recent inspection also recommended further intrusive investigations to discover the full extent of the structural issues surrounding the pool shell and underground pipework.

East Sussex County Council, which is responsible for the facility, said these costs ‘could be in the region of up to £100,000’ and along with ongoing maintenance and the annual £18,000 running costs, the pool was no longer economically viable.

Following consultations with the county council, Battle Town Council, Rother District Council and Claverham, this week the decision was taken to close the swimming pool for good.

Speaking at a Battle Town Council meeting, Cllr Paula Fisher said: “As much love as we have for that swimming pool, it cannot keep up with the requirements of today and we had to say at the end of the meeting that it was not really economical to continue to put money into that pool.”

Rother councillor Kevin Dixon added: “It’s heart-rending that it’s the best thing to do is to fill it in.

“But it would be cheaper to fill it with £20 notes rather than spend £50,000 to get it in shape.”

East Sussex County Council said the pool is to be decommissioned shortly.

Paul Swatton, principal of Claverham Community College, said: “It is extremely sad to see the end of a facility which has served the college and the community well for over 40 years.

“However, given the fact that the structure of the pool has reached the end of its lifespan and needs extensive investment, it is impossible to justify the level of expenditure given the number of weeks it is open during the year.

“The college can continue to provide swimming opportunities in the curriculum through the use of local facilities in a far more cost-effective manner.”