|Hindley Pool: The Way Forward
The threat of closure could be lifted from Hindley Pool next week.
A business case from a community group to keep the site open and save council tax payers £97,000 a year is being presented to Wigan Council’s cabinet on Thursday 25th October.
The Borsdane Avenue site was identified for closure by Wigan Council as part of the £6.4m savings expected of Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust by 2013/14.
The pool was first identified for closure in June 2011 in order to achieve necessary budget savings. There was a consultation and requests for interested groups to come forward. Although no party did at that time, the Trust identified a budget to keep it open on reduced hours until the end of June 2012. This was only achieved by cost reductions elsewhere as a one-off pledge. The council’s cabinet then decided that the pool would have to close at the end of December unless a community group came forward.
Penny McGinty, the council’s head of leisure, explains: “We’ve studied the proposal from the Phoenix Group in detail and officers are able to give a cautious welcome to the plans. I am pleased that we have honoured our promise to keep the pool open beyond its original closing date as this has allowed the group to come forward and set out its case.”
Under the proposal, the operation of the pool would transfer to the Phoenix Group on 10th February 2013. Officers from the council and the Trust would work with them on the details of the handover to ensure a smooth transfer. There are no staffing implications as Trust staff would be offered posts elsewhere.
Officers have commissioned a study of how the changeover would affect pool users and the cabinet are to be informed that the incoming group will be able to apply for grants to improve the facility.
Previous examples of successfully involving the community in public services include Aspull Library and Tyldesley Baths. Councillors are aware that this likely to become more common.
Mrs McGinty adds: “Our pledge will always be that we will make every effort to encourage community involvement in the context of the hard decisions we have to make. There are some one-off costs associated with the transfer, but this outcome would save council tax payers £97,000 a year as well as the costs of having to decommission and clear the site.”
The decision will be announced following the meeting of Wigan Council’s cabinet at the town hall on 25th October.