Derby North MP Lends Support For Lonsdale Pool Plans
The new MP for Derby North, Amanda Solloway, has backed efforts by Lonsdale Swimming & Sports Trust to build a new pool for the local community.
Mrs Solloway visited Lonsdale Pool in Mickleover to learn more about the Trust’s efforts to find a 1.5 acre site to build a new £4m pool in the west of the city that would replace the existing 45-year-old pool in Varsity Grange.
She met Trust Director Ian Cotter who explained the Trust’s efforts to find a suitable site to build a 2,500 sq m leisure centre with an eight-lane 25m length pool, a 200-seat viewing area and potentially a second training pool. They also plan to include a gym and fitness studio in the centre.
Previous attempts to find a site in the Mickleover and Mackworth areas have so far been unsuccessful and the Trust is currently in discussions with various landowners in the area to find the amount of land required to forge ahead with their plans to build a new pool.
Mrs Solloway said: “I am a keen advocate for swimming and spent many an hour pool-side when my children were actively involved in the sport several years ago.
“I am hugely impressed with the work of the volunteer members of Lonsdale Swimming & Sports Trust who have worked extremely hard to keep the ageing pool in Mickleover going for the benefit of the local community.
“I have asked the Trust to keep me informed of their progress and will help in any way I can to ensure their search for a site and their plans to build a much-needed new swimming pool in my constituency come to fruition.”
Mr Cotter continued: “Lonsdale Pool is fast becoming unfit for purpose. It is a very old building, uneconomical to run and does not have the capacity for us to be commercially viable.
“The current Lonsdale Pool is a popular facility for swimming and scuba diving club, local schools, young people and adults who learn to swim here and people of all ages who regularly benefit from the health benefits of swimming.
“A new pool of this size and quality would therefore provide much needed local facilities to ‘keep Derby swimming’.”
Lonsdale Trust has run the pool since 2007 following the site and surrounding land in Mickleover being sold by the University of Derby for housing.
The pool’s extensive running costs are currently supported with £100,000 a year by the developers building Varsity Grange on the former university site under a Section 106 agreement.
This agreement will finish in 2025 at which point, the £1 million received by then will have been completely used up keeping the current pool open rather than being an important lever to attract grant funding and finance. The pool will therefore be closed with a community facility lost forever.
Mr Cotter concluded: “We have a funding plan in place to finance the building of a new pool but our first hurdle is to find a suitable plot of land so we need the support of Derby City Council and others to make this happen.
“We are talking to as many influential people as we can to raise awareness of our plans and very much welcomed the opportunity to discuss our plans with Mrs Solloway so soon after her election victory.”