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Swimming club chief brands plan to shut Lichfield leisure centre’s pool “depressing”

The chair of Lichfield Swimming Club has described the plan to close Friary Grange Leisure Centre and its pool as “depressing”.

Friary Grange Leisure Centre
Friary Grange Leisure Centre

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.”

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2 Comments

  1. Rosie

    27th July, 2019 at 8:24 am

    Swimming pools are so important for local communities, they benefit physical health and mental health. We can’t all get the bus to Burntwood to swim if it shuts!!

  2. Denise Astley

    27th July, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    I am shocked at the decision to close the Friary swimming Pool. Why is the Friary School as an academy being allowed to hive off the profitable bits of the leisure centre ie the gym and playing field and not putting anything towards the swimming pool? Either the school should take over all the facilities and allow the public to use the facilities or pay the council to have use of them.

    I would like to hear what our local MP is going to do to help the community keep this vital facility. With obesity identified as a danger to our youth he should help us back keeping it open.

    Equally I would like to think that the local GP Practices will also get on board given the physical and mental health benefits of swimming.

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