Scartho Baths closure: Protestors dive in at events showcasing new pool (video)
CAMPAIGNERS against the closure of Scartho Baths laid siege to consultation events to show the public plans for a new pool.
The furious protestors surrounded Scartho Baths and Grimsby Auditorium as the council showed off 3D models of the planned £8.4-million new pool.
More than 20 Save Our Pool supporters turned up at Scartho Baths – which will be closed when the new pool is complete – to hand out leaflets and man picket lines.
Stuart Jaffrey, 74, of Scartho Road, said: "We need to save this for future generations – the new location is in the wrong place and not accessible for many people in the town."
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Pete Winchester, president of the Grimsby and Cleethorpes Amateur Swimming Association, said: "The new pool doesn't even have a diving board, which is a facility the community deserves."
As reported, it was the second day of protests, after campaigners made their views known at similar events held at the Central Library and Cleethorpes Leisure Centre on Tuesday.
Helen Crosby, 39, of Cleethorpes, said: "The model looks great. Scartho Baths really needs updating, so I think this whole design is brilliant.
"Unfortunately these designs do not have diving facilities included and I think that will be missed."
However, Paul Richmond, 32, of Cleethorpes, said: "Scartho Baths was in an ideal location near the centre of town. I think this new centre will be hard to get to for many people, so I expect that will have to be looked into further.
"Other than that the design looks good and Grimsby Leisure Centre really needs a refurbishment."
But Scartho Baths proved to be a real hub of protest, as tempers also ran high inside the building as angry residents raised their voices, and even manhandled a representative from the architects behind the scheme, who was there to explain the plans. Sue Rust, 62, of Laceby Acres, said she believes the council has an ulterior motive – after a heated exchange with Sue Wells, head of culture, leisure and sport for North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC).
"They must think we have MUG written on our foreheads – it makes no sense to spend £8 million on a new pool when they could refurbish it for less than £2 million, so there must be some other reason," she said.
The picketers also handed out leaflets claiming that a leaked condition survey report, done for NELC in 2010, claims it would cost just £1.5-million to refurbish Scartho Baths, extending its life by ten years.
However, Steve McIntyre, partner of Faulknerbrowns Architects – which designed the new facility – said that is only half the story.
"That would be the cost of replacing essential plant and equipment but there would also be substantial further costs as 'consequential improvement' to the building fabric," he said.
Mr McIntyre claims the new building would also be much more energy efficient – saving NELC money on running costs – and will be more suitable for children and people with disabilities.