Yippee! Ripon is to get a new swimming pool, at last. Or at least that is what last week’s Gazette says.
But beware Greeks bearing gifts. Or watch out for Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) rehashing old plans.
Reading between the lines and listening to what a senior councillor told me, it would seem that a fait accompli has been set in motion for us to have a new pool on Dallamires Lane next to the current leisure centre.
Now whilst this would seem an ideal situation, it will inevitably lead to job losses across the leisure sector in Ripon, it will lead to at least the movement of football pitches closer to busy roads, movement of children’s play area, and no significant increase in car parking.
Not forgetting that if previous plans are put into action the new pool will be only just a copy of what Ripon currently has. We may even lose on facilities overall.
Furthermore, the announcement came as a bolt out of the blue to the four people who have been working behind the scenes for the last two years or more to secure a new pool.
Specifically we are still waiting to hear from the HBC officer for leisure to come to a meeting with us to discuss the future. She has currently not responded to countless emails and calls.
One further thing, you may be asking yourselves what will happen to the old Spa Baths?
I was told by a senior councillor that it will initially be offered to the NHS for the hospital/doctors’ use, but if they do not want it (or, once again take too long to answer), it will be put out to residential sales, and there is even the possibility that the Secretary of State could be asked if the Victorian Grade two listed frontage can be demolished to aid the residential sales.
There is still much to be done on this. Harrogate Borough Council must talk to those who use the swimming facilities in Ripon. It must talk to the ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) which they have previously failed to do.
So, in summary – it is wonderful that we are to get a new pool in Ripon, but will it be a swimming facility or just a pool?
This is some of the change that we want in Ripon, maybe a little too late for some but nevertheless a welcome announcement, with questions to be answered.