Make a splash and have your say on swimming in Shrewsbury
Shropshire Council has today (Thursday 28 May 2015) launched a four-month consultation to seek people’s views on the future of swimming in Shrewsbury.
The population of Shrewsbury is changing – it’s generally getting older and less active. The county will have significant growth over the next few decades, with a large amount of new housing being built.
From September 2015 the town will have a university, and although student numbers will initially be small, there will be a growing population of students with specific leisure requirements.
The condition of the Quarry Swimming and Fitness Centre and the user experience it offers has declined in recent years. There are huge strains generally on the public purse and the running costs of the current facility are a growing challenge.
Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Deputy Leader, and Cabinet member with responsibility for leisure services, said:
“I don’t think anyone can deny the fact that the Quarry Swimming and Fitness Centre, which was opened in 1864, is getting very tired and that future swimming provision in the town needs some serious thought.
“Also, as it is getting older it’s getting increasingly expensive to run, which poses a real challenge for us.”
It is because of this that, in September 2014, the council appointed construction experts who undertook a detailed condition survey of the Quarry Swimming and Fitness Centre. This survey identified a number of essential works.
Since then the council has been working with partners and commissioned independent experts to fully explore what the best options are for providing swimming facilities for people’s changing needs.
The options are:
- Option 1a – refurbishment of existing facilities.
- Option 1b – upgrade of existing facility.
- Option 2 – new build on The Quarry site.
- Option 3 – new build on a different site.
- Option 3a – new build: land off Clayton Way, Shelton.
- Option 3b – new build: land at Ellesmere Road.
- Option 3c – new build: land at Shrewsbury Sports Village, Sundorne.
- Option 3d – new build: land at Shrewsbury College, London Road.
Steve Charmley added:
“We commissioned independent experts, Strategic Leisure, to explore viable options and it is these that we are wanting people’s views on. All of them have their pros and cons, but to us they are very much all equal and we’re keen to hear from people who don’t use the Quarry Swimming and Fitness Centre, as well as people who do.”
Keith Barrow, Shropshire Council’s Leader, said:
“People often feel that consultation is a process that we as a council just go through, which is why we are doing it differently.
“We have no preferred option. We are giving you all of the facts so that you can decide on the future of swimming in Shrewsbury. All we ask is that you read as much of this information as you can so that you can make an informed choice.
“We genuinely want to engage with people in a different way and this is definitely something we want to continue across other council services.”
Andrew Bannerman, local Shropshire Councillor for Quarry and Coton Hill, said:-
“The Quarry Pool and Fitness Centre is a major attraction of Shrewsbury town centre. Many people visit it and do other things in the town centre as well. I hope everyone who uses the facility, as well as those who might use an upgraded facility, will respond to the consultation and give their view on what would be the best site for them.”
To let us know your views please fill in a simple online form at shropshire.gov.uk/swim, call us on 0345 678 9077 or visit your local library.
Once the consultation has closed the council will analyse people’s feedback before taking a report to Cabinet for a decision before the end of the year.
The story so far…
- July 2014: Shropshire Council approved the recommendation to undertake detailed options work.
- October 2014: Building condition survey of the Quarry Swimming and Fitness centre was completed.
- November 2014: Study of different options for swimming provision in Shrewsbury commenced.
- December 2014: User survey of the Quarry Swimming and Fitness Centre was carried out.
- May 2015: Options analysis study was completed.