Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pool Poll Objectives; Survey Reveals Fury over Closure

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pool Poll Objectives; Survey Reveals Fury over Closure

Article excerpt

Byline: AMY HUNT

A POLL has revealed the scale of objection to the closing of an historic swimming pool.

As previously reported by the Chronicle, Newcastle City Council plans to close the smaller of two pools at the listed City Baths on Northumberland Road.

The area of the pool will be incorporated into a new youth centre, built in a derelict school next door, using pounds 5m of Government cash.

Pool users have been campaigning for the last 18 months to halt the proposals, without success.

Now an online poll by Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah has found 99.5% of the 1,400 people who voted were against the closure of the pool.

Ms Onwurah ran the survey on her website, asking what visitors thought should happen to the city pool, whether bosses should change nothing, close the small pool, close both pools, refurbish the small pool or use it for another use.

She said: "I knew that the plans to close the small pool were a concern to many people, but I have been surprised by the number who took time to vote on my website.

"Nearly 1,400 people voted, with an overwhelming 99.5% voting to retain the pool or to see it improved.

"I do hope that the city council will fully take on board this significant expression of local opinion, rejecting the plan to close the smaller pool at the City Pool."

The MP has been urging council chiefs to modify their plans for the MyPlace youth centre to leave the City Baths building alone and allow the pool to remain open.

Protestor Jim Davidson, a swimmer and sports instructor, said: "This is an overwhelming show of support.

"We must wonder whether the council will take notice of it."

A Newcastle City Council spokesman said: "The decision was taken in December 2009 by the city council's executive to close the small pool as part of the MyPlace project, which will bring world-class youth facilities to the city. …

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