Pool’s future to be decided

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A DECISION about the future operation of Brighouse pool and fitness centre will be made within six months.

Calderdale councillors have been discussing whether the facility in Bradford Road should continue to be managed by Calderdale Council or be run by other organisations.

Eight options were discussed by members of the safer and stronger scrutiny panel and it was decided that a working party, made up of councillors and officers, would be set up to discuss each of the options in detail.

These are: To maintain the current arrangement of direct council management; fund alternative models such as enterprise, schools, voluntary sector and private sector to deliver the services or withdraw from the services altogether.

Councillor Colin Stout (Ind, Brighouse) said they listened to people in 1997 when they said they wanted a new pool in the area.

He said that it had been pointed out that £660,000 worth of cuts in the leisure services budget would have to be found over the next year.

“But rather than cutting £660,000 we decided that we could generate that amount with the facilities we have by making them more attractive to people. So we turned it around and instead of finding so much to cut we could generate the income required. In effect we would be at a standstill.

“We were told at the meeting that we are 106 per cent over target in membership at Brighouse for the gym and swimming pool so it just shows how fit people in Brighouse want to be.

“All credit to the councillors who listened to what people were saying and provided them with a new pool.”

The working party will be set up at the next meeting in June and will hold three meetings to discuss each of the eight options and possible ways they could generate more income to cut back on the amount of cuts they would need to make.

Director of Safer and Stronger Communities Robin Tuddenham said: “Scrutiny have carefully considered the future options and are committed to undertaking a careful piece of work prior to making the final decision.”