“If Tom Daley grew up in Norfolk he never would have made it to the Olympics because there are not enough pools here” - council leader’s reaction to closure of Fakenham Academy’s swimming pool

Fakenham Academy's swimming pool will close in the summer, it has been announced. Fakenham Academy's swimming pool will close in the summer, it has been announced.

Friday, December 13, 2013
12:37 PM

Fakenham Academy’s swimming pool will close in the summer, potentially putting the future of several long-established sports clubs under threat.

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The academy’s principal, Matthew Parr-Burman, delivered the news at Fakenham Town Council’s meeting on Tuesday night, where it was described as a devastating blow to the town.

North Norfolk District Council leader and county councillor Tom FitzPatrick said: “If Tom Daley grew up in Norfolk he never would have made it to the Olympics because there are not enough swimming pools here.”

Members of clubs which have been using the pool for more than 35 years also expressed their frustrations.

They highlighted how the move could affect people’s health and, with fewer people having the opportunity to learn to swim, could pose a serious threat to people’s water safety.

Mr Parr-Burman said he agreed with those views but, because of rising costs, the academy could no longer afford to keep the pool open.

He said: “The high maintenance and running costs of the pool, at slightly over £100,000 per year, far exceed the modest amount of revenue it generates – around £12,000 per year.

“We have explored different options for keeping the pool open, including talking to new potential groups of users and seeking another organisation to take on the management of the pool, but these avenues have unfortunately not yielded a solution that would enable us to keep the pool open.

“We are working with other local pools to see if they are able to support our existing users.

“We appreciate this will be disappointing news for our students, local primary schools and a number of other private groups who currently use the pool.

“We will keep the pool open for a further seven months to allow sufficient time for alternative arrangements to be made with other pools in the local area for these users.”

It is estimated that between 200 and 250 people use the pool regularly with some coming from as far as Norwich, Dereham, Watton and King’s Lynn.

Among those at the meeting were representatives from Fakenham Swimming Club and Dereham Canoe Group.

A canoe group representative said: “Our members travel a long way to use the pool and this could be it for us.”

Fakenham Swimming Club chairman Charlotte Wood said the club would hold a meeting to decide where they went from here.

Fakenham town councillor Richard Crook said he wanted to see if there were any ways to prevent the closure.

Mr FitzPatrick said he would pursue funding opportunities alongside the proposals to bring 900 new homes to the north of Fakenham to see if a new pool can be built in the long-term.

The academy has announced a closing date of July 23 next year.

9 comments

  • surely the education system has an obligation under the schools education curriculum to provide swimming lessons - how will this now be done ??????

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    ratboy7545

    Thursday, December 12, 2013

  • Councillor Fitzpatrick, you are a member of the party that is forcing more and more schools to become academies. They are then no longer accountable to local communities. Councillor, your crocodile tears won’t fill the pool. Far better to use your influence with Mr Gove and get him to reconnect schools with their local community. And, if he won’t listen then leave the conservative party. If you won’t then perhaps you could consider your position as an elected member.

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    shocked at stoopidity

    Friday, December 13, 2013

  • I'm very sad to hear this news. This pool is used by schools in the area and, only last year, it was reported that just 33% of school children aged 11 could swim 25m! I believe it has been considered to be part of the School's Ofsted inspection to ensure that school children can swim this distance. How can schools deliver this if pools are unavailable? We are an island and have lots of rivers so it is imperative that children learn to swim. As for the comment re Tom Daley - there are no schools in Norfolk with a depth of 4m which would allow for diving! I believe the nearest is in Cambridge. But then, let's not worry about diving at the moment, just get as many children swimming as we can. I'm a registered and qualified swimming teacher and would be willing to help in any County initiatives to get children (and adults) swimming again!

    Report this comment

    Sarah B

    Friday, December 13, 2013

  • I'm also more than a little sceptical about the running and maintenance cost quoted. Further explanation would be helpful.

    Report this comment

    guella

    Sunday, December 15, 2013

  • Councillor Fitzpatrick, you are a member of the party that is forcing more and more schools to become academies. They are then no longer accountable to local communities. Councillor, your crocodile tears won’t fill the pool. Far better to use your influence with Mr Gove and get him to reconnect schools with their local community. And, if he won’t listen then leave the conservative party. If you won’t then perhaps you could consider your position as an elected member.

    Report this comment

    shocked at stoopidity

    Friday, December 13, 2013

  • "......He still would have found love, though.....". Unlike you John it would seem.

    Report this comment

    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Saturday, December 14, 2013

  • He still would have found love, though.

    Report this comment

    backwoodsman

    Friday, December 13, 2013

  • Feel the love, larsybaby, feel the love.

    Report this comment

    backwoodsman

    Saturday, December 14, 2013

  • I'm wondering whether the academy have their figures correct. £100,000 a year for maintenance sounds an awful lot to me.

    Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Thursday, December 12, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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