Community group halts closure and saves Hindley swimming pool from Wigan Council cuts

By Henry Vaughan

Hindley pool will remain open after a successful bid from a voluntary community group, despite being earmarked for closure last year.

In a landmark decision yesterday, Wigan Council approved a bid from the Phoenix Group, which includes councillors and local businessmen and women, who will take over the operation from February next year.

The facility was identified for closure last June, as part of Wigan Council’s £6.4million cuts to Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust by 2013/14, to save £97,000 a year.

Local MP Yvonne Fovargue said: “This is good news for the community and I am pleased that swimming will continue in Hindley thanks to the efforts of all parties.

“We’re all aware that in the current economic climate there is a severe pressure on budgets so this innovative approach and partnership working between the council and local people is to be commended.”

Other examples of community involvement in public services include Aspull Library and Tyldesley Baths.

This may become more common as councils are forced to make more cuts to save money.

Councillor Chris Ready, the cabinet lead for leisure, said: “We took the decision to close the pool in June 2011 with genuinely heavy hearts.

“It’s not what anyone would have wanted but faced with having to make massive cutbacks, we had no option.

“We identified funds to keep the pool open whilst interested parties came forward and I am absolutely thrilled that this extra time has allowed the Phoenix Group to put this plan together.”

The group are looking for further community support – If you are interested in volunteering email [email protected] or phone Margaret Rowson on 01942 510532.

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