Updated: York swimming pool will close next year, owners confirm

New Earswick Swimming Pool. Photograph © New Earswick Swimming Club website
4 Oct 2017 @ 9.45 pm
| News

One of York’s swimming pools is to close for good next spring.

New Earswick Pool will shut at the end of March 2018 after its owner, Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, said it could no longer afford to keep it open.

The pool “makes a loss of £132,000 a year, and would cost another £1.3million to repair” the trust said.

Iit was committed to building other sporting and community facilties in the village and would invest the money saved “through the New Lodge and Folk Hall redevelopment”.

The full trust statement is below.

One of the main users of the pool, New Earswick Swimming Club, has vowed to fight the closure.

Fighting the decision

In a response on Facebook, the club’s management committee writes:

The reasons given is that pool has “…significant financial, structural and operational challenges” which has meant that JRHT “…have had to look at the long term options for the facility and site…”

Clearly this is upsetting/ worrying news for NESC as well as the other pool users. We are seeking an urgent meeting with the trust.

In the mean time, we are contacting all other pools within the York area to see what pool time is available.

The club says all sessions will run as normal until March 31, and pledged to fight the closure: “We will endeavour to do our very best to make sure this club continues.

“We do need everyone’s help and support to persuade the trust to change their decision on the pool closure.”

‘Disgraceful’ decision

Photograph: New Earswick Swimming Pool on Facebook

People reacted with dismay and anger to the news. “The pool provides a great community for all ages,” wrote Tony Shaw.

“Having been a past swimmer, teacher and coach of the club this is very, very sad to hear. I hope whatever small channel there is the pool can be saved.”

“Disgraceful. I spent a lot of my Saturdays running jumble sales and other fund raising events to raise money for the up keep of the pool,” posted Tony Brown.

“This lot running the trust are all money orientated and have no loyalty whatsoever to the villagers.”

Linda Nelson said the chair of the disabled swimming club broke the news to the club committee on Wednesday.

“This club is a lifeline for so many disabled people, who would not be able to use another pool – Yearsley too cold, most others with no hoist or appropriate steps,” she wrote.

The JRHT statement in full

JRHT is committed to building a community for all ages in New Earswick, including new tennis and sports courts, a multi-use games area and more green spaces for the community.

After carefully reviewing the swimming pool as part of this plan, we cannot commit to the funding it will need to keep the building and equipment running in the long-term.

The swimming pool is not open to the public; being used only by pre-booked groups from in and around York, it makes a loss of £132,000 a year, and would cost another £1.3million to repair.

JRHT is funded by the rent and care fees that our residents pay to live in our communities. Because of changes to the rules of what rents we’re able to charge, our financial position is challenging, and we have been downgraded by our regulator.

Homes are not at threat, but if we want to be an exceptional housing association; providing decent, affordable homes and high-quality care services long into the future, then we must use this income wisely.

This means we need to be careful not to invest in loss making facilities which offer poor value for money.

The money saved will be reinvested through the New Lodge and Folk Hall redevelopment, and will be used to improve the services and facilities available to everyone. We will consult people in the community on their ideas for a new and more widely used facility which benefits the whole community.