‘We demand
a pool’

The leisure centre site in Gainsborough Road.
The leisure centre site in Gainsborough Road.

Market Rasen Town Council is backing a petition signed by more than 500 people calling for a swimming pool to be included in the town’s new £6.3 million leisure centre.

Residents are being urged to go along to speak at the council’s Finance and General Purpose Committee at 7pm in Festival Hall this evening (Wednesday, June 20) when councillors will propose to support the petition by writing to the leader of West Lindsey District Council.

Market Rasen Mayor John Matthews

Market Rasen Mayor John Matthews

The letter will also invite WDLC leader Coun Jeff Summers to attend the next full town council meeting on July 4.

Market Rasen Mayor John Matthews has praised the efforts of the people organising the petition - but has admitted he does not think a swimming pool is ‘viable’.

The dry leisure centre will be built on land in Gainsborough Road, between Market Rasen Primary School and The Limes Country House hotel.

Coun Matthews said: “It’s a wish list, but it won’t happen - there isn’t money to build it, and there isn’t space on that site anyway.

“You might as well not bother if you’re putting a swimming pool in.

“All this has been done.”

Coun Matthews pointed out the leisure centre would provide Rasen with lots of new facilities including a 3G pitch, fitness suite, dance suite and sports hall.

He added: “Where do you stop? We’re very lucky to have the investment.

“There’s not a swimming pool in the country making money with all the staffing costs. It’s not practical.

“There are lots of local schools that use the Louth pool, whereas that won’t happen in Market Rasen because they use the one at the primary school.

“There would be no education revenue from it.

“There’s not a business person in the country that would invest in it.

“If there was do you not think someone would have come along before now?

“The figures don’t stack up.

“They’re [swimming pools] struggling to keep open.”

“This is pie in the sky, it’s not going to happen.

“It’s a wishful dream but it’s not going to happen.

“I commend the efforts but it’s been going on for 20 years, it’s not going to happen.

“If it was viable one of the private enterprises would have got on board. It’s not viable.”

When asked whether he thought the new dry leisure centre would be as popular as a leisure centre with a swimming pool, Coun Matthews said: “I’m not qualified to answer that question.”

But Coun Matthews admitted he did not think a swimming pool would bring more people into the town.

Campaigner Ella Field, from Middle Rasen, disagreed and thinks a swimming pool in the town would help to boost local businesses.

Ella said: “It seems like ever since I’ve lived here it’s been promised.

“Wragby has one, Louth has one, we’re just left behind.

“It would bring more people to the town, which means they’ll shop more locally and it would get people more fit and active.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous. We already have these facilities and they’re going to spend £6.3 million on a dry leisure centre.

“It’s utterly pointless.

“Everyone seems to be on board.

“Most people are completely baffled.

“Of course it’s viable.

“It would be better to spend the £6.3 million to build a swimming pool and leave the existing facilities the way they are.”

Ella said the online petition attracted 200 signatures in just one hour.

She said:“I can’t sit and complain about something if I’m not willing to do something about it.”

Ella said many people, including the elderly and disabled, do not want to ‘navigate their way’ to Lincoln or Louth to get to a swimming pool.

•To sign the petition, go to you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/swimming-pool-for-market-rasen.