Extraordinary meeting called to discuss decision over Ripon's new swimming pool

Campaigners outside Harrogate Borough Council's offices ahead of the meeting last week.
Campaigners outside Harrogate Borough Council's offices ahead of the meeting last week.

The Mayor of Ripon has called an extraordinary meeting of the city council to discuss Harrogate Borough Council’s (HBC) decision to build a six-lane swimming pool for the city, without a learner facility.

It’s been a long fight for members of Ripon Pool Action Group and residents campaigning for a learner facility, but at a full Harrogate Borough Council meeting last week, a motion was passed to move forward with a six-lane pool.

The district's Liberal Democrats submitted an amendment proposing that the council approves plans for a five-lane pool with a learner facility, but the amendment was not passed.

The Mayor of Ripon, Coun Pauline McHardy, said: “Hundreds of extra houses will be built in Ripon, we need a swimming pool that will serve the needs of the people of Ripon and the surrounding areas. A learner pool is an essential need, and not an added luxury.”

In a letter to Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for culture, tourism and sport, Coun Stanley Lumley, Ripon’s Liberal Democrats said: “There has been plenty of evidence of a desire in Ripon for a learner pool both historically and currently. So much is evident from speaking to residents during the recent election campaign and also from the survey of schools.

“You are intending to ask the council to commit millions of pounds for a new pool in Ripon. It surely makes sense both financially and in terms of local democracy to ensure that it meets local needs.”

Coun Lumley said: “The option recommended by officers and accepted by full council will provide an improved, modern, facility to replace the ageing Ripon Spa Baths. The new pool will have six, 25 metre, lanes which is a vast improvement over the existing pool.”

Ripon Pool Action Group member Dewi Winkle said their group has done everything they can to fight for a learner pool, and he said members are now keen to move forward and have conversations with Harrogate Borough Council about making the most of the new facility that has been approved.

The extraordinary meeting of Ripon City Council will be held on Monday night at the Town Hall, starting at 6pm.