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Council invites proposals for keeping swimming pool in Shrewsbury town centre

Interested organisations will find out next week how to prepare and submit their proposals for keeping a swimming pool in Shrewsbury town centre.

In July 2016 Shropshire Council’s Cabinet agreed that Shrewsbury Sports Village is the preferred location for future swimming provision in Shrewsbury, rather than the current location at the Quarry Park in the town centre.

However, Cabinet also recognised the strength of public opinion to retain swimming provision at the Quarry and agreed that organisations – including the Shrewsbury BID, Quarry Swimming and Fitness Forum, and Shrewsbury Town Council – are given the opportunity to develop alternative proposals to retain swimming provision in the town centre.

A report going to Cabinet on Wednesday 28th September 2016 confirms that organisations have up to 12 months to prepare a business case for keeping a swimming pool at the Quarry or other town centre location – and sets out the recommended terms of reference, including the process for submitting business cases, the timescales involved, and the evaluation process.

To help with the preparation of a business case, and in the interests of fairness, all organisations will have access to the same, detailed information, which is available on Shropshire Council’s website.

Alongside the business cases being prepared by interested organisations, Shropshire Council officers will prepare a business case for the Shrewsbury Sports Village.

The report recommends that organisations be invited to submit an outline business case by early 2017 so that Shropshire Council can provide feedback on whether it is likely to meet future pool requirements.

All business cases that are submitted will be evaluated to see if they meet the council’s requirements, ie: for the business case to be deliverable; for the pool to be affordable and sustainable; to meet the council’s vision for future swimming provision in Shrewsbury; and to provide social, environmental and economic benefits.

Once the evaluation of the business cases is complete, a report is set to go to Cabinet in December 2017 confirming Shropshire Council’s preferred approach – and asking Cabinet to make a decision on the final preferred location.

Once Cabinet has agreed the preferred option, detailed feasibility and design work will be carried out.

Stuart West, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for leisure and culture, said:

“After carefully considering seven possible options, and carrying out a lengthy public consultation, the Shrewsbury Sports Village emerged as the location that best meets Shropshire Council’s objectives for future swimming provision in Shrewsbury – including the key factor of affordability.

“But it was clear from the consultation, through the local media, and from meetings that officers and I have attended, that the majority of people want swimming provision to remain in the town centre.

“That’s why we’ve given organisations time to prepare and submit their own proposals to retain swimming at The Quarry, or at an alternative town centre location. All business cases submitted will be carefully evaluated before a final decision is made.

“However, it’s important to stress that ultimately the decision on whether to go ahead with the replacement of the existing pool and which business case option is preferred will be taken in the light of Shropshire Council’s financial strategy, and the affordability of the proposals.”

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