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Pool petition for Birstall and Wanlip gathers support

Pool petition for Birstall and Wanlip gathers support

An online petition to reopen a swimming pool has gained more than 800 signatures.

Councillor Simon Sansome, a Liberal Democrat for Birstall
Wanlip ward, set up the online petition in April after residents
raised the issue.

It asks Charnwood Borough Council to look at either opening
a leisure centre or reopening the pool at Longslade Community College.

The college pool, in Wanlip Lane, was shut in 2012 after a routine inspection revealed it would cost about £250,000 to bring the boiler up to a safe standard.

However, Coun Sansome said if a wood-burning
biomass boiler was installed it would be eligible for a grant under the
Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme – created to cut
dependency on fossil fuels.

He said: “There is a Government grant available to buy the boiler free of charge and Barry West, who runs Ashwell Biomass, in Thurmaston, can maintain it.”

Coun Sansome said he hoped the borough council and school could work together.

He said: “The support has been fantastic and I think that shows there is a high demand.

“It would be great for Birstall to have a leisure centre. It would benefit the kids of the school, as well as the community.

“It is ridiculous there is a pool not being used.

“The plan now is to present the petition to the borough
council. It will hopefully then talk to the school about a way

Barry West, managing director of Ashwell Biomass, said: “It is not really widely known but the Government is giving money back when people use renewable energy.

“They could actually make money from this project.”

Mr West said depending on its size a boiler would cost
between £80,000 and £105,000 to install and the grant could offer
£15,000 to £20,000 per year for 20 years.

Jacqueline Abela, 41, of Birstall, who has signed the
petition, said when the pool was open it was convenient to walk and
cycle to.

She said: “They had aquafit and adult swimming as well as children’s sessions.

“Now, we have to drive outside the village and use facilities elsewhere. If you can’t drive you have to pay bus fare.”

A council spokesman said: “We are keen to be involved in a
debate about provision of recreational and sporting facilities across
the borough and if a petition is presented to us about facilities then
it can be considered to inform future planning.”

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