Fears that Ripon Spa Baths could fail: Harrogate council's response to learner pool survey

Harrogate Borough Council is moving forward with its plans for a six-lane pool without a learner facility.
Harrogate Borough Council is moving forward with its plans for a six-lane pool without a learner facility.

Harrogate Borough Council has responded to a survey by Ripon residents, which found that 95 per cent of respondents are in favour of a learner pool for the city.

When Green Party campaigner Brian McHugh presented the findings of his online survey to Harrogate Borough Council (HBC), he was hopeful that their decision to move forward with a six-lane pool without a learner facility would be reconsidered - with 582 out of 610 responses in favour of a learner pool.

But HBC's head of culture, tourism and sport, Michael Constantine, has confirmed that the existing plans will "progress with all speed," and there will be no pause to seek additional views on a learner pool.

Mr Constantine said: "We are required by Cllr Lumley to progress with all speed to prevent the increasingly likely scenario where the Spa Baths fail and Ripon has a period with no swimming facilities.

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"Therefore we won’t be pausing to seek additional views as we progress the six-lane pool and refurbished leisure centre scheme. There are a number of reasons for the absence of a learner pool in the scheme for the new pool for Ripon. Of key importance is the space limitations of the site with the requirement to retain a football pitch and provide around 100 car parking spaces for the combined facility.

"In addition, the analysis from Sport England indicated that a five-lane pool would provide enough water space to meet demand, with the decision to increase to a six lane pool more than meeting demand.

"We are required by Cllr Lumley to progress with all speed to prevent the increasingly likely scenario where the Spa Baths fail and Ripon has a period with no swimming facilities. Therefore we won’t be pausing to seek additional views as we progress the six lane pool and refurbished leisure centre scheme."

Brian McHugh said: "This is realistically a once in a lifetime build- why doesn't Harrogate Borough Council pause to get it right and listen to what the data is telling us?"