I’m furious the Conservatives on Wyre Council have refused to re-open Fleetwood swimming pool. They are spending a million pounds on opening other sports centres in the borough – but refuse to spend £20,000 of that money on opening Fleetwood baths until the spring.
This is the column I wrote in this weeks Fleetwood Weekly News.
Conservative councillor Lynne Bowen, portfolio holder for leisure, health and community engagement says “together with the YMCA we have identified that Thornton and Garstang are the two most viable centres to reopen. They have the highest number of members and since the pandemic began they have retained more memberships than the other centres.”
Once again those living in deprived areas lose out. The kids of parents on low incomes lose out. And our seniors, living on a state income lose out. This is disgraceful.
Thousands of school children across Wyre and some of the Fylde have now not had a swimming lesson for nine months because Fleetwood’s baths have been closed. We live in a coastal area – it’s imperative our kids know how to swim.
The pool is home to swimming and exercise clubs, it’s a fun leisure activity for kids at the weekend and in the holidays – and many others rely on it for their health and wellbeing. Given the size of Fleetwood and the feeder areas, I fail to see why our pool hasn’t been prioritised.
Councillor Bowen says “by reopening a centre in the rural and urban areas of the borough, residents will be still be able to access facilities within a reasonable travel time.”
Has she even been to Fleetwood? Doesn’t she know that Fleetwood has lower than average car ownership? And relying on public transport to go swimming in Garstang requires two buses, two hours to get there and will cost between £6 and £12. So rather than it being a ‘reasonable travel time,’ it would in fact almost take a whole day and the cost to a family would be around what some families spend on food for the week.
This decision is wrong. Three thousand people who responded to my petition earlier in the year know it’s wrong. I’ve already raised this with the Government and I’ll keep on doing so until the local tory decision makers put the people of Fleetwood first for once.