Pub pool plan could be sunk by delays

The Richardson's Arms pub is to turned into a swimming pool, if KL planners approve the application that's been lodged. (12041043)
The Richardson's Arms pub is to turned into a swimming pool, if KL planners approve the application that's been lodged. (12041043)

PLANS to turn pub crawls into front crawls by transforming a pub into a new swimming academy could be dead in the water.

Kirklees Council planners approved an application to turn the Richardsons Arms, Oakenshaw, into the Academy of Swimming but the owners say a year-long delay has cost them £13,000.

The plan to create a function room and a 25m pool on the site has been deferred by planners since last summer because of fears over the speed and density of traffic along Bradford Road in the village.

However, owner Kevin Firth has revealed that the delay has brought the whole development into question.

“I feel really bad that it’s taken so long to get planning permission,” Mr Firth said.

“The financial environment has changed in the last 12 months in terms of the money available to us.

“Now the banks want to renegotiate for the funding we have in place and it leaves the whole thing up in the air.

“Whether to build the swimming pool or not – that is the question.”

Mr Firth said that the cost of redesigning the travel plan to allow coaches full of school kids to use the new swimming pool has cost them £13,000 to date.

He added: “We spent money conducting a traffic survey and changes to the plans, but for what? No one ever complained to us. In fact, we a letter of support with 140 signatures.

Coun Kath Pinnock said she was not against the development but the traffic issue worried her.

“It’s right on a blind bend and the proposal would see children being bussed into the pool every 45 minutes,” she said.

“I have been inundated with complaints from people about the traffic through the village. In my view, the original plan would only have added to the traffic problems.”

In the Heavy Woollen planning sub-committee meeting when the application was approved, several members of the committee commented it was a welcome and ‘innovative development’.