Rasen MP wades into pool debate as residents step up campaign

Sir Edward Leigh has issued a plea for a natural swimming pool, such as this one in Combloux, in France. EMN-180723-160625001
Sir Edward Leigh has issued a plea for a natural swimming pool, such as this one in Combloux, in France. EMN-180723-160625001

Market Rasen MP Sir Edward Leigh has called for West Lindsey District Council to look to building a ‘natural pool’ in a bid to end concerns about the lack of a swimming facility at the town’s planned new leisure centre.

More than 2,000 residents have signed a petition calling for a new pool to be included as part of the proposed multi-million pound leisure centre for the town.

Market Rasen MP, Sir Edward Leigh. EMN-180724-092317001

Market Rasen MP, Sir Edward Leigh. EMN-180724-092317001

In January, Sir Edward welcomed plans for the leisure centre and vowed to support any efforts to develop a swimming pool which was left out of the list of facilities.

At the time, Sir Edward said: “I think that a four court sports hall, changing facilities, a fitness suite, dance studio for exercise classes and an outdoor 3G pitch, will be a great boost for our town.

“However, I am very disappointed, like a number of local residents, that the council’s plans don’t include a swimming pool.”

“I understand that Local Government has taken a significant reduction in funding from Central Government grants over this decade so it may not be possible to include a swimming pool at the current time.

“But, I think it would be folly if the new facility is not future-proofed so that a swimming pool can be developed in the future.

“I will continue to support any efforts to develop a swimming pool to serve Market Rasen and the surrounding area.”

In a letter to WLDC last week, Sir Edward said: “There is strong demand for a pool.”

He acknowledged the cost of construction, maintenance, and staffing for an indoor pool was a significant factor and suggested what he termed as a ‘natural swimming pool’ as an alternative.

Sir Edward said: “This innovative solution has proved successful elsewhere.

“At Combloux in France, for example, their natural swimming pool is pure, clear, and free from chemicals.

”The need for active maintenance in this model is significantly less than a conventional pool as well as being far more environmentally friendly.

“The new leisure centre is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve the quality and variety of amenities on offer to residents in Market Rasen.

“I hope WLDC will investigate the possibility of building a natural swimming pool to fulfil the strong desire of the community at significant long-term savings.”

On the latest from Sir Edward, deputy mayor and town councillor Stephen Bunney said: “The town council welcome Edward Leigh MP’s support for swimming facilities in Market Rasen.

“However, they would prefer to see an indoor facility that is usable all year around and not just in the warmer months of the summer period.

“It may well take time for such a facility to be built but in the long runner will bring greater enjoyment and benefits all round.

“We are looking at a fully integrated leisure package.

“We have got the skate park, the play equipment, the dry side and outside pitches - but it has to come in bits.

“I am certain that if we all continue to work together the community will soon be accessing the remaining elements of the ‘coordinated leisure programme’ in the town.”

Two public meetings have now been held about the campaign to get a swimming pool for Market Rasen.

As reported last week, an action group - consisting of residents and Market Rasen Town Council - was set up after the first public meeting on Friday, July 13.

At that meeting, Coun Bunney, who is the town’s deputy mayor, said: “We, as a group, have got to be working together as a community to say a swimming pool is needed. We’ve got to go out and do it.”

Following the second public meeting last Saturday (July 21), Coun Bunney said: “The meetings were overwhelming in their wish to see that a swimming pool be added to the existing plans (for the leisure centre).

“The view is that the swimming facility should include opportunities for 25m lane swimming, a learning area as well as fun activities (including a spa/Jacuzzi).

“To help bring the timescale for the pool forward the meeting asked that a feasibility study – along the one carried out in 2006-2008 – be carried out as soon as possible.

“Volunteers at the meeting offered to help WLDC and the Town Council organise and process the study.”

•Do you back plans for a pool at the leisure centre or what about Sit Edward’s vision for a natural pool? Get in touch with us.