Statement on Community Swimming Pools

Last year Lancaster City Council took the decision to end its relationship with the three community pools at Hornby, Carnforth and Heysham, from 31.3.2017 and hand the buildings back to their owner, Lancashire County Council, but with officers exploring the possibility of transferring the pools to community ownership.

At Lancaster City Council’s meeting of full council held on 14th December 2016, it was resolved that if the schools are committed to taking on the pools and there is a potential viable business case, but need more time to finalise arrangements, the council will support the continuation of operation of the pools beyond April 2017, for a limited period, and Cabinet is requested to incorporate this into the budget proposals for 2017/2018. 

While business cases are being developed that could potentially see Carnforth and Heysham remain open, the same has unfortunately not been possible at Hornby which is considerably smaller than the others and lacks the sort of additional leisure facilities that could help to make it a viable concern. As a result, Hornby Focus School has withdrawn its initial interest in taking over the pool

It costs Lancaster City Council £176,700 every year to run the three pools; an unsustainable amount in light of Government cutbacks and spending reductions.

In the absence of any further expressions of interest, the two councils along with Sport England, Lancashire Sport and the Association of Amateur Swimming, have been working together with the schools to which the pools are attached to build business cases that could allow them to take ownership. 

Councillor Darren Clifford, Cabinet member with responsibility for sport and leisure, said:  “This district has been fortunate to have four council run swimming pools for a number of years, at a time when many councils across the country have rationalised their own offer to just one. 

“The city council has always seen the great benefit swimming has for health and wellbeing and that’s why we’ve invested in Salt Ayre to make it financially viable, ensuring the fantastic pool and swimming programme continue well into the future.

“Unfortunately we can’t make the finances at the small community pools stack up and own perilous financial position now means that we cannot afford to keep running them. 

“We’re hopeful that in the case of Carnforth and Heysham they will be taken on by the local schools and they will be funded them until the end of September so work on putting together the business case can continue.

“There’s no such hope at Hornby and, that being the case, it’s with heavy heart that we will need to cease operations as from March 31 this year. The building will then be handed back to Lancashire County Council, who will make the final decision as to its future.”

Last updated: 02 February 2017