Millions pledged for pool

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Kirklees councillors have sensationally voted to give more than £4 million worth of funding to rebuild Spen Pool.

In a heated council meeting on Wednesday evening, Cleckheaton councillors, with support of other ward councillors in Spen, suggested that £4.651 million of a budget overspend would go towards rebuilding Spen Pool.

Coun Kath Pinnock told the meeting: “It is my understanding that just over £4 million available from the capital rollover, and I would like this to be made available for a fund to help rebuild Spenborough Pool.

“Spenborough Pool is a vital asset – it serves 50,000 people in the Spen Valley, and even more people from surrounding areas such as Leeds and Bradford.

“More than 1,800 school children use the pool every week to learn how to swim – drowning is the most common cause of child death so we have a responsibility to ensure that this does not happen.”

Deputy Labour leader Coun David Sheard supported the amendment, and but added: “It’s pretty obvious that a lot of members here live in a complete fantasy world where we make commitments to things when we don’t know where the money is coming from.”

He added however that he supported the idea and the amendment was passed.

After the meeting, Cleckheaton councillor John Lawson said: “We are obviously delighted at this.

“Clearly that we’ve managed to get the Council to pledge £4.65m for Spen Pool is great news but we know that at least another £4m will be needed.

“The fight is not over and we will not be stepping back from this now. Spen Pool is a really important resource for the Spen Valley and has a lot of potential. We’ll be continuing to fight every step of the way so it is here for future generations.

“By no means do we believe that everything is done and dusted yet, but this will go a very long way to making the pool fit for purpose.”

The rebuilding of Spenborough Pool is expected to cost between £8 million-£10 million, meaning the money pledged by the council would make up around half of the expected total needed to rebuild the pool.

The pool was originally built in 1969 with money raised by the old Spenborough Council when it successfully sued the government after it privatised the water company.