Rutland County Council to discuss recommendations for new public swimming pool and permanent closure of Catmose Sports Centre pool, in Oakham
Proposals to draw up plans for a new public swimming pool in Rutland are to be discussed at a county council cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
The cabinet will consider a report from Coun Alan Walters, the Portfolio Holder for Health, Wellbeing and Adult Care, which looks into leisure facilities in Rutland.
"It is now urgent that decisions are taken to shape the future provision for the county," the report says.
Among seven recommendations is the development of designs at a new site to build a viable case for a new swimming pool in Rutland.
Beyond the design stage it could only progress if 'at least 90% of capital funding' can be found externally or through a partner body and if the new facility 'can be delivered at no revenue cost to the council'.
It also recommends that Catmose Pool, which has remained closed for safety reasons since the start of lockdown in March 2020, will not re-open and that necessary repairs, estimated at more than £500,000, are 'not affordable'.
The cabinet will also consider a petition to give Rutland a public place to swim which was presented to last Tuesday's full council meeting by its co-ordinator Leah Toseland.
The online petition attracted 2,636 signatures, with 1,124 deemed valid by the council as from those living within the county.
"I think that's a really clear message that people do believe in it and do want that," said Leah, who was voted on to the council earlier this month at the Oakham North West by-election.
"I also used findings from the Future Rutland Conversation which really highlighted that people wanted a public pool."
The council report highlighted the importance of leisure provision to the health of Rutland’s population.
It was found to be better than the national average, but with 'significant underlying long-term health issues and increasing levels of inactivity'.
With a population older than the national average, there was a 'higher prevalence' in Rutland of conditions including stroke, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and heart failure.
It said community access was the 'key issue' with current swimming facilities, with the main pressure in the north of the county following Catmose Pool's closure.
The Catmose Sports Centre was said to meet 'a significant proportion of the county’s leisure demand' before the pandemic.
In the year from April 2019, Catmose Pool had 1,484 members and 10,300 casual users, with 9,000 of that total from Rutland.
Access to leisure facilities elsewhere in the county was found to be 'much more constrained', with weekly public access to swimming pools limited to 11-and-a-half hours at Oakham School and 11 hours at Uppingham School.
"There is potential for a small increase in access, but it will not be possible to secure the 52.5 hours per week of peak time access provided by Catmose Pool," the report added.
Among other findings, the report also recommends allocating £250,000 of developer contributions towards a swimming provision project, as match funding towards future provision and investment.
It also recommends exploring the potential of community-owned leisure options, and to begin negotiations with Catmose College over the future of its 'dry' leisure facilities.
The cabinet meeting begins at 10am.