Ongoing plans for the construction of a swimming pool in York have now seen the City of York Council suggesting to borrow an additional million pounds to support the project.
In order to be finalised, the proposed sum needs to be approved by the full Council. The total cost of the pool is set to be £8.9 million.
A proposed location for the pool is in the York Sports Village. The Village is part of the ‘Cluster Two’ of the University of York campus development strategy, and has been designed to include two swimming pools.
Elizabeth Heaps, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Estates and Strategic Projects, recently revealed that if built in the York Sports Village as part of the Heslington East campus, there would be an aim for completion of the swimming pool by 2012, in line with Olympic Games. Construction may begin early in 2011.
The facilities surrounding the Village complex would also offer a health club in direct competition with Heslington’s David Lloyd, all weather football pitches and changing facilities.
In line with current proposals, the Council would contribute £3 million towards building the pool, and £5 million would be put up by the University to fund project. The University would subsequently be in charge of the facility’s maintenance, for 25 years.
Councillor Nigel Ayre has stressed that the pool is a “one-off opportunity” to benefit the City of York with a desirable service. He has also publicised that “public access will be guaranteed”, regardless of the location of the pool.
Providing that the City of York Council supply a sufficient guarantee to funds for the project, the current proposals may be finalised within this month.
David Levene, founder of the ‘Save Our Swimming! Campaign for a Heslington Swimming Pool’, believes that confirmed community access is fundamental to securing the construction of the pool.
“It’s going to be at the University, there’s no question to that as I understand it,” he commented. “There have been positive developments since the campaign started, it’s about keeping the pressure on now, really, to make sure they get that funding.”
Heaps has stressed the need to encourage the local community in York to use the York Sports Village facilities, as opposed to keeping the Village exclusive to the student population.
Tim Ngwena, YUSU President, said: “I am pleased to see that the Council is considering an extra £1 million for the project. The pool will not only offer a great student facility that has been long needed, but it will also have community access which was the University’s intention three years ago when the proposal was outlined. I urge the council to approve the bid so that the project can move forward.”