Fears over price of new £14m Kirkby pool

Ashfield District Council annouce plans for new leisure provision for Kirkby-In-Ashfield, pictured are Coun Tom Hollis, Paralympic swimming gold medalist, Ollie Hynd and Coun Jason Zadrozny
Ashfield District Council annouce plans for new leisure provision for Kirkby-In-Ashfield, pictured are Coun Tom Hollis, Paralympic swimming gold medalist, Ollie Hynd and Coun Jason Zadrozny

Plans for Kirkby’s first public swimming pool have been welcomed by residents – but concerns have been raised about its £14 million cost.

Ashfield District Council has unveiled plans to replace Festival Hall leisure centre, on Hodgkinson Road, with a new £14 million centre on a parcel of land described as a “disused eyesore” behind it.

The plans were formally approved at a cabinet meeting on Monday, January 21.

However, despite the plans being passed, one resident Dorothy Stevenson said she still did not believe it will be built.

She said: “I’m 68 now and have been waiting for a swimming pool in Kirkby for at least 60 of those years. It’s never going to happen.”

The new centre – on the land originally earmarked for a pool in the 1930s by Kirkby Urban District Council, the forerunner to Ashfield council – will house two pools.

There will be a 25m swimming pool with adjustable floor and a leisure pool, as well as a climbing wall and gym.

The plans also include a multi-purpose sports hall the size of four badminton courts, containing a cinema screen, as well as a café, cycling studio and a rehabilitation suite.

Posting on your Chad’s Facebook page – fb.com/mansfieldchad – Samantha Ferguson said: “I hope they are prepared for most of Sutton to come swarming.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing surrounding businesses thrive off it.”

And Neal Wardman posted: “Any facility that encourages local people to get into sport and fitness has to be a positive thing.”

Festival Hall is now said to be “limited” and expensive to maintain – would remain open while the new centre is built, but would then be demolished and replaced with car parking, when it is due to open in 2021.

However, the price tag of £14 million has worried some residents.

Sharon Whysall said: “There are other pools they can use not far away – surely £14m can be better used.”

And Pete Jones-Price said: “It is taxpayers who have to fund this.

“Whether you like it or not, there’s a swimming pool, 10 minutes away on the bus”.

The council has secured £2.5 million in funding to go towards the build.