£6m academy pool 'would be for community use'
LIBERAL Democrat cabinet councillors are expected to decide next week to go ahead with plans to build a new £6.2 million swimming pool in east Bristol.
It would be built at Bristol Brunel Academy – the former Speedwell Technology College – which was opened by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown five years ago.
But council leader Simon Cook has promised the new pool would be available for community use as well as students.
The state-of-the-art six-lane 25-metre long pool would also provide a learner pool and changing facilities.
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It is hoped that it will open sometime in 2014.
Mr Cook said: "A new pool has always been one of our aspirations.
"We have a massive £50 million 'Investment in Bristol' initiative and we want to make sure our investment delivers the maximum benefit to the city, its communities and local residents."
The Liberal Democrats made a manifesto pledge three years ago to replace the former Speedwell Pool which was closed down in 2005 along with Henbury, Bristol North, and Filwood pools.
Since then, Henbury and Horfield leisure centres have been opened to replace them as well as the more recent Hengrove leisure complex. The Jubilee Pool in Knowle is currently being refurbished.
But people in east Bristol have had nowhere nearby to go for a swim.
Mr Cook said: "We have seen the success of the new pool at Hengrove, with thousands of people taking up swimming.
"A new east Bristol pool would go some way to extending top-notch sporting facilities in the city and encourage even more people to get involved in regular exercise."
The new pool has the backing of the Amateur Swimming Association, local schools and community groups.
Bristol South pool in Dean Lane is destined for a makeover but a scheme is still being worked up in consultation with local people.
The council originally planned to rip out the changing cubicles which surround the Grade II listed pool which was built in 1931.
But locals believe these old-style changing facilities have a charm which should be kept. They also want to see old-style baths at the back of the building retained as part of a heritage project. The baths were installed when the pool was built because so many people who lived in the area had no bathrooms of their own at the time.