'˜We've got to go out and get that pool' - action group set up

An action group calling for a swimming pool in Market Rasen has been set up after a public meeting on Friday evening saw the town's deputy mayor tell residents '˜we've got to go out and do it'.

The leisure centre site in Gainsborough Road.
The leisure centre site in Gainsborough Road.

It comes after 2,000 people signed a petition calling for West Lindsey District Council to put a swimming pool in the £6.3 million leisure centre planned for Gainsborough Road.

The group - made up of residents and the town council - is calling for an ‘integrated leisure facility’ for the town ‘as soon as practically possible’.

Market Rasen deputy mayor Steve Bunney, who chaired Friday’s meeting at Festival Hall, told residents: “We, as a group, have got to be working together as a community to say a swimming pool is needed.

“There’s definitely a need for one, and a want for one.

“We’ve got to argue there’s a business case.

“We should be trying our hardest to push for the full facility and get that economic case together.

“It’s very good to get a survey but when it comes to making decisions people just say ‘that’s numbers’... we need to back that up. That’s what we’re going to do now.”

Coun Bunney said the group needed to get a new survey done and ask for the support of other nearby parish councils.

Coun Bunney said the previous survey was now out of date.

He said: “We’ve got to make sure we all work together pushing for the facilities and that it’s on equitable terms with the rest of the district.

“We need to go out of our way to push on these grounds.”

“We want to see an integrated facility in town.

“We want to see that happen as soon as practically possible.

“I was told we’d never get the money for the skate park, but it was done.

“We’ve got to go out and do it. The community have to work together.”

Coun Bunney, and the residents, agreed the town needed a specific notice board for the integrated leisure facility group to keep everyone informed of the latest developments.

He added: “I will not change my mind today or in four years’ time… we need new sports and leisure facilities in the town.

“I will not stop arguing for facilities elsewhere [in the town] if this doesn’t go ahead.

“This site does make sense to me but I know there are other sites that make sense to other people.

“We’re united on what’s needed.”

The new leisure centre will be open during the day, unlike the existing facilities at De Aston School.

Coun Bunney told the meeting he believed retired people, young people, unemployed and disabled residents would benefit from having access to leisure facilities during daytime hours.

But one resident raised concerns about the proposed site, saying it had a history of flooding.

And another person said the Gainsborough Road was ‘dangerous’.

Coun Bunney said: “Before they [WLDC] can do this building, they’ve got to get planning permission… they’ll have to take highways into account.

“They could put in a mini roundabout.”

He added: “This money has already been borrowed, on your behalf, by West Lindsey.

“It’ll go somewhere else if we don’t take it here.”

A resident told the meeting: “People from all around would be coming to Rasen.”

And another resident said a lot of people come to the Market Rasen area on caravan holidays and he said this could be part of an ‘economic case’ for a swimming pool.

A woman at the meeting said: “I’ve got back problems and I’m better in the water and I’ve got to rely on someone to take me to Louth.

“I’m not the only one who has to rely on people to take them. A lot of people in my age group don’t have anyone to take them.”

And residents spoke about how parents in Market Rasen and surrounding areas were struggling to get their children to swimming lessons in other parts of the county.

One resident questioned Market Rasen deputy mayor Steve Bunny about how long the town council had known about West Lindsey District Council’s leisure centre plans.

The resident said: “I’ve lived in Rasen 43 years, born and bred.

“Until recently we knew nothing about these plans.

“I want to know how long the council has known about these plans?

“I’m quite disturbed how in the dark you [town council] or West Lindsey have kept the town.”

Coun Bunney said the town council had known ‘something was happening’ for about six months before it became public knowledge.

The resident said: “That’s six months we could have got together and put in our objections and we wouldn’t be on a timetable.”

WLDC’s planning application for the facility will be submitted in October.

Residents and councillors agreed the best solution would be a 6m x 25m swimming pool with a small ‘learner pool’.

Coun Bunney said: “Surely having a pool that can cater for a wide range of ages is better.”

• The next public meeting about the campaign to get a swimming pool in Market Rasen is due to take place on Saturday, July 21.

The meeting will be held in the town’s Festival Hall and will start at 10am.

Everyone is welcome to attend and have their say on the issue.