Campaigners fighting to save a Slaithwaite swimming pool paid for by the community in the 1960s are still waiting for the answer to one simple question.
The swimming pool at Colne Valley Leisure Centre was shut ‘temporarily’ in December to save money amid spiralling energy costs.
Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL), a charitable trust which runs sports centres and pools on behalf of Kirklees Council, closed the pool at Slaithwaite and also Deighton Sports Arena and Batley Baths and Recreation Centre until April 2023 to save money.
Campaigners say KAL staff were told at a meeting that shutting the pool at Slaithwaite would save £25,000.
Despite repeatedly asking that question of KAL and the council, no answer has been forthcoming.
Members of the Save our Colne Valley Swimming Pool group say had they had some warning of the closure, the community could have started fundraising to meet the shortfall – but even now no-one will officially confirm how much the temporary closure will save.
Clr Lesley Warner (Ind, Colne Valley) asked the question of the council’s Cabinet back in December and also asked KAL chief executive Alasdair Brown at a meeting last week.
Clr Warner said: “The £25,000 figure was apparently given in a staff meeting but there now seems to be some back-tracking from that. We want to know how much has been saved and when the pool will re-open.”
When the closures were announced they were said to last until the end of March but communities in Slaithwaite and Deighton fear their facilities may not re-open.
Campaigners from both Slaithwaite and Deighton are expected to lobby councillors outside Huddersfield Town Hall on Wednesday (January 11) as they arrive for the full council meeting, which starts at 5.30pm.
A deputation will address the meeting and Clr Warner said she would again be pressing for the figures.
“We won’t go away and we will keep asking these questions,” she said. “The community in Slaithwaite raised £30,000 for the pool back in the 1960s and that’s the equivalent of £500,000 today.”
At the Cabinet meeting in December Golcar Liberal Democrat councillor Andrew Marchington also pressed for the figures.
He said there was a willingness in the Slaithwaite community to contribute to ensure the pool re-opened.
Clr Paul Davies, Cabinet member for corporate services, said the council had given KAL £7.5 million over the last two years but that level of support could not continue due to budget pressures on the council.
He described KAL’s financial challenges as “very significant” and said there would be a “close working relationship between councillors, the community and KAL” over what happened next to the closed facilities.