Campaigners fighting to save Jubilee Swimming Pool from closure hope the strength of public pressure will work to sway the final decision.
Bristol City Council plans to cut its subsidy for the vital sports facility in the heart of Knowle’s community met with widespread opposition from residents and sparked a petition that has now received almost 3,500 signatures.
The level of support for the much-loved pool has helped boost membership numbers despite the closure threat and contracted operator Parkwood Leisure has confirmed is it hoping to find a way forward.
Jubilee has provided swimming opportunities to some of Bristol’s most deprived areas for eight decades and campaigners say many of its users – including children and the elderly – would not be able to visit an alternative site.
In a statement, the Friends of Jubilee Swimming Pool said: “Jubilee Pool is located at the very heart of the local community. It is vital for the physical and mental health and well-being of the people which make up that community.
“A significant proportion of its users are people who would not use the pool if they had to drive or take a bus to reach it – that includes older people and others who, for various reasons, need assistance to reach the pool.
“Jubilee Pool plays an essential part in reducing health inequalities, especially in the South of Bristol, and ensuring that every child in that area gets off to a swimming start in life.”
The group added that all of Bristol’s public pools are potential training grounds for swimmers of the future and called for the council to consult everyone who uses the facility before any changes go ahead.
Knowle ward representative Gary Hopkins has backed the campaign and believes the pool could be viable even without the grant funding. He has raised concerns about a proposal by Bristol Council to close the facility at the end of August 2017.
He is calling for assurance from the mayor Marvin Rees he will not stand in the way of Jubilee’s continued operation.
Hopkins said he is confident the petition will attract the 3,500 signatures needed to trigger a council debate and in the meantime, he will be raising the matter before the full council meeting on Tuesday.
A spokesman for Parkwood Community Leisure said: “We fully recognise the importance of Jubilee Swimming Pool to the local community and remain in discussion with the city council to find ways to continue the operation of the pool after the current agreement and subsidy ends.
“We have met with council representatives to discuss our proposal to operate the swimming pool without any financial subsidy and we are hopeful of an eventual outcome that will satisfy the needs of local residents.”
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