Posted: Tue 26th Mar 2024

Cardigan Memorial Pool to be taken into council ownership, not run as council-owned pool

news.wales / newyddion.cymru

Cardigan Memorial Pool and Hall, which is to close its doors at the end of the month, to be taken into council ownership, but not run as a council-owned pool.
The trustees of Cardigan Memorial Pool and Hall announced earlier this month that they have had made the ‘difficult decision’ to close the pool at the end of March due to ‘significant financial challenges’.
“Due to the increase in energy costs and reduced income levels, as well as the significant costs associated with maintenance and repair to bring the site up to standard, operating the swimming pool in its current form is no longer financially viable,” said the trustees.
“To continue to maintain the pool with such budget challenges will force the trust into insolvency which would risk losing the building.”
The trustees have been in discussions with representatives from Ceredigion County Council regarding a possible transfer of the asset.
A report heard at the March meeting of Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet recommended the council agree to an asset transfer of the building.
The report for members identified financial factors identified in the pool’s closure, including a 472 per cent increase in gas costs following the end of a fixed pricing contract, from £20,000 per annum to an estimated £115,000 per annum, and the 1976/77 building needing works valued at over £900,000 to be carried out over the next five years.
Cabinet previously approved a recommendation that the location of Ceredigion’s second wellbeing centre will be in Cardigan, and that one of the sites under consideration was the Memorial Pool.
A report for members at the March meeting stated: “Given the council’s wider financial position, core funding does not exist to operate the facility as a going concern as that could only have happened by placing an even higher burden on Ceredigion residents through council tax.
“The council does not therefore intend to re-open and operate the facility. In inheriting a closed facility, the council will need to protect the integrity of the site pending the outcome of the Wellbeing Centre feasibility study.”
At the March Cabinet meeting, members agreed that, in principle, the pool and hall building was transferred into the ownership of the council, to deliver quality services that contribute to the improved wellbeing of residents in the south of the county.
The pool has been a feature of the town for more than 40 years, helping countless children learn to swim and provided a place where people can meet, socialise, and exercise.
Cardigan Memorial Pool trustees said that they would continue working in partnership with the council and provide what assistance it can to protect the site going forward for the benefit of the residents in Cardigan and surrounding areas.
Speaking about the closure, Matt Newland, chair of trustees recently said: “This was an extremely difficult decision.
“But running a swimming pool is about attracting long-term investment and consistent trustees with the right skills.
“This has always proved very difficult as an independent charity. Council ownership is the best long-term outcome for the pool, even if it means losing the service provision for now.
“We would like to thank all those who have helped the pool these past few years, both financially and with their time.
“This will not have gone to waste, but as a community we need to lobby hard for the central government funds for a wellbeing centre for Cardigan with enhanced, long-term swimming provision.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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