Fakenham swimming pool campaign gathers pace

Richard Crook, who is on the campaign committee, is pleased with the amount of public support which

Richard Crook, who is on the campaign committee, is pleased with the amount of public support which has been shown. - Credit: Archant

A revived campaign for a new swimming pool in Fakenham gathered pace when almost 200 people who attended a public meeting on the issue vowed to support it.

During a lively debate, the idea of attempting to secure funding to keep either Fakenham Academy's or Fakenham Junior School's pool open in the short-term was discussed.

It was also suggested that an appeal could be made to Trinity College, Cambridge to help fund a new pool,

Town councillor and Active Fakenham co-ordinator Richard Crook, who is on the committee of councillors, sports club members, parents and residents, which called the meeting at Fakenham Community Centre on Tuesday night, said: 'I think it went very well and there were a lot of positive contributions.

'The meeting was to gauge how much interest there is in campaigning for a new pool in Fakenham and the turnout was very positive.

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'If 25 people had turned up we would be worried but almost 200 people is the basis for a strong campaign.'

Fakenham Academy principal Matthew Parr-Burman told the meeting how the academy's pool was due to close in July and Fakenham Junior School headteacher Lesley Cook explained how she did not expect the school pool to have a long-term future, in both cases for financial reasons.

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Campaigners want to secure funding for a new public pool in Fakenham but explained this could take up to 10 years to achieve.

It was suggested, in the interim, efforts could be focused on taking over the running of the academy or junior school pool, to ensure a generation of people in Fakenham do not miss out on the opportunity to swim.

The rector of Fakenham, the Rev Adrian Bell, said an appeal for funding to Trinity College, Cambridge, should be made.

Trinity College is patron of Fakenham Parish Church and owns land at Rudham Stile Lane, Fakenham, which is earmarked for up to 900 new homes over the next 10 years.

North Norfolk district councillors Roy Reynolds and Annie Claussen-Reynolds told the meeting they would attempt to secure funding from the district council.

Fakenham Area Partnership (FAP) originally looked into securing funds for a new pool 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.

The forthcoming closure of Fakenham Academy's pool and uncertain future of Fakenham Junior School's pool has breathed new life into that long-running campaign.

Mr Crook said: 'We are always going to be told reasons why we can't have a pool in Fakenham but this meeting is about finding out how much we want it and who is willing to stand up and fight for it.

'When we asked who was willing to help just about everyone put their hand up.

'We have taken contact details and will look to utilise people's skills where possible.

'The next stage will be to meet as a committee and discuss the issues raised at this meeting and to decide where we go from here.'

What do you think? Send your views to adam.lazzari@archant.co.uk.

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