Warning that school swimming pools in greater Norwich are ‘at risk’ and could close

The Thorpe St Andrew High School swimming pool which needs refurbishing and updating. Picture: DENIS

The Thorpe St Andrew High School swimming pool which needs refurbishing and updating. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

A body promoting a healthy lifestyle in Norfolk has warned more school swimming pools could close if the schools are not helped with the cost of repairs.

In its impact report, Active Norfolk said it has identified 'a significant' issue with school-based pools in the greater Norwich area.

'Greater Norwich's stock of swimming pools on school sites is at risk - they are in poor condition and in need of maintenance,' it says. 'The local authority withdrawal of a subsidy to schools with a pool has put the onus on schools to pick up the cost of repairs which they cannot afford.

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'As a result two pools have closed, and more are likely to follow. This is and will continue to cause a lack of supply for the demand from both schools and the community.'

The report will go before Norfolk County Council's communities committee on Wednesday morning.

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Active Norfolk said it will undertake condition surveys on six pools in the area, in an effort to keep them open.

The report says that 10 of the 17 swimming pools and 20 of the 29 four-court or larger sports hall in greater Norwich are on school sites.

It said: 'Schools and academy trusts are under great pressure to deliver academic outcomes, and we need to grow the evidence linking increased community engagement/physical activity with achieving educational outcome.'

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Speaking at the council's communities committee, Ben Jones, Active Norfolk director, said inactivity had become a bigger threat to health than obesity.

He said that 28pc of adults in Norfolk are classed as inactive - doing less than 30 minutes of moderately physical activity a week.

He said Active Norfolk, which is largely funded by Sport England, worked with schools to make sure they make the most of their government funding for sport.

'One thing we are conscious of is we when you place an amount of money like that to a school which is already stretched in terms of funding, they may not necessarily have the knowledge or skills to know how to best use that, so we have a role in helping with that,' he said.

• Do you have a story we should be writing about? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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