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Open water swimming warning shows why Lichfield cannot afford to lose pool, councillor says

A Lichfield councillor has said advice urging people to use swimming pools rather than open water to cool down in soaring temperatures shows why the city cannot afford to lose the facility at Friary Grange Leisure Centre.

Friary Grange Leisure Centre
Friary Grange Leisure Centre

Staffordshire County Council issued the warning following deaths at Chasewater and Stowe Pool in recent weeks.

But with campaigners fighting to save Friary Grange Leisure Centre from closing, Cllr Dave Robertson, who leads the Labour group at Lichfield City Council as well as being a district councillor, said the advice showed why a rethink on the closure plan was needed.

Cllr Dave Robertson
Cllr Dave Robertson

“The warning from Staffordshire County Council about the risks of swimming in open water is an important one, particularly given the tragic events at both Stowe Pool and Chasewater this month,” he said.

“However, the suggestion to use local pools as an alternative really is a kick in the teeth for all those fighting to keep their access to a community pool in the city. 

“The county council owns our swimming pool and perhaps should have been thinking of this advice when it looked at the maintenance of the building in previous years, or when it drafted the lease offered to the district council.”

“A very real danger”

Cllr Robertson said those involved in talks over the future of the pool and other leisure facilities needed to consider the potential human cost of doing so.

He told Lichfield Live: “There is a very real danger of having no local pool for the people of Lichfield to use within the next 10 months and this warning should be heard not only by the other partners involved in discussions around the future of Friary Grange, but also by the county council themselves. 

“In light of their own advice perhaps the county council should be considering how much the price of keeping our pool open weighs against the potential cost of closing it.”

Independent Lichfield councillor Joanne Grange has also criticised the county council’s timing.

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1 Comment

  1. AnnS

    23rd July, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    I saw the Irony Joanne having posted the following earlier.

    “Swimming in open water is completely different to swimming in a safe, controlled swimming pool and can be very dangerous.

    Problem here is that if the Friary Leisure Centre closes next April, future generations will not know that “swimming in open water is completely different to swimming in a safe, controlled swimming pool and can be very dangerous”.

    Oh the irony!

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