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The chair of Lichfield Swimming Club has described the plan to close Friary Grange Leisure Centre and its pool as “depressing”.
Rachel Bentley spoke at a public meeting over the future of the facility tonight (15th July).
Lichfield District Council has put forward proposals to shut the centre from April 2020 – a move that would leave the city swimming club without a base.
Rachel said that closure would have a profound impact on swimmers at all levels.
“We currently have 112 members who train between two and six times a week,” she explained. “It was our 50th birthday last year, and over that time we’ve probably had 2,500 members come through and been coached by us.
“Currently we have two national qualifiers for the first time ever and they train at The Friary. Without the centre they will have to travel to train and lose friends who they train with.
“It also affects learning to swim which saves lives and is something we’ve heard tragically about last week.
“It’s all very depressing really.”
“Record levels of obesity and mental health”
Rachel told the meeting that the Friary Grange Leisure Centre closure plan was following a worrying pattern across Staffordshire.
“With record levels of obesity and mental health, neighbouring counties are investing in new 50m pools,” she told the meeting. “But in Staffordshire they’re closing with no replacements.
“As well as learning to swim, it can also lead to participation on to competition at club level, particularly at a time when the GB team are breaking records. At our level, swimmers are breaking countless records at county and club level.
“Clubs like ours battle for lane time in Staffordshire and the councils are making the pool of pools smaller.”