July 30 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
No signs of pool opening for summer season as council struggles to foot bill for storm repairs.
A TIDAL swimming pool in Westward Ho! which was damaged during the high spring tides in February will be closed for the imminent future.
The pool along the promenade usually undergoes refurbishment ahead of the summer season but this year Torridge District Council has struggled to foot the bill.
Council leader Philip Collins said the original plan was to refurbish the pool but the ‘fearful battering’ the pool took over the winter was ‘very substantial’.
“This was not evident until after the last storms in March. By this time, our budgets had been set,” said Cllr Collins.
“The extent of damage is such that a temporary and affordable repair would not satisfy current health and safety regulations.
“For us to undertake the kind of major works necessary to allow the re-opening of the pool would mean a significant investment of funding we simply do not have access to at the moment.
“New legislation means we would need to apply for a Marine Licence to do the works and also commission any reports necessary prior to the repairs being carried out.”
In 2011, residents in Bude fought a vigorous campaign to help keep their sea pool open for the season after Cornwall Council faced a funding crisis.
The pool’s future was secured by forming the Friends of Bude Sea Pool who took on the day-to-day management and fundraising for the pool.
Cllr Collins said he wanted to assure the public the council was looking at every available avenue for external funding.
“I know this is not what the people of Westward Ho! want to hear, and it gives me no pleasure in saying it, but this is due to the constant cutbacks from central government slowly but surely strangling the life out of local authorities.”