Fakenham swimming pool campaign gains fresh momentum
10:20 30 January 2014
Archant © 2013
Fresh life has been breathed into a long-running campaign to build a new swimming pool in Fakenham.
News that Fakenham Academy’s pool will close in July – allied to the uncertain future facing Fakenham Junior School’s swimming facilities – has prompted renewed efforts to build a case for funding for a new public pool.
Fakenham Area Partnership (FAP) originally looked into securing funds back in 2005.
The organisation contacted Sport England and learned that, because Fakenham already had school swimming pools which were used by the public, funding for a new pool was unlikely to be available.
FAP co-ordinator Janet Holdom attended a meeting on Monday along with sports club members and others interested in bring a new pool to the town.
She said a public meeting on the issue was likely to take place within the next three weeks and a steering group could be formed to drive the project forward.
Ms Holdom said: “The campaign for a new pool has never really gone away and has remained in the background.
“We need to find out now if we have a stronger case for funding because the high school pool will be closing in the summer and the future of the junior school’s pool is uncertain.
“I have been in touch with Sport England to make some inquiries and am waiting for more information.”
The Times has recently reported how Fakenham Academy principal Matthew Parr-Burman announced that pool would close in July because of financial reasons.
Fakenham Junior School’s pool closed recently over health and safety concerns.
It is hoped that pool will reopen but head teacher Lesley Cook could not guarantee it, and said the school needs financial support from the local community to keep it open in the long-term due to the pool’s high running costs.
Both pools are used regularly by pupils from other schools and by private groups.
Ms Holdom said: “Swimming is so vital to people from all walks of life.
“Young people living close to a costal area need to learn to swim for safety reasons and it can be the best from of exercise for elderly people and those with disabilities.
“Swimming can have great health benefits and help to tackle things like obesity so can save the NHS a lot of money as well.”
A questionnaire, which was started in 2005, can still be completed on the FAP website, www.fakenhamareapartnership.co.uk
Details of a public meeting are expected to be announced in the near future.