BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC News in video and audio
Last Updated: Friday, 30 November 2007, 12:19 GMT
Protest held over pool demolition
Policeman talking to protestors
Police are ensuring the protests are being held safely
Protesters trying to save Blaenavon swimming pool have staged a demonstration as contractors moved in.

Some people living at the town are trying to stop Torfaen council from demolishing the pool after the roof was damaged in storms in January.

They warned they will now stage demonstrations to stop any demolition.

The council estimates repairs would cost 200,000 and has said it wants the site and the leisure centre nearby to become a school and health centre.

However, local people said there was enough room to keep the pool going as well.

The pool's roof was damaged when panels from the neighbouring leisure centre blew on to the building.

Dorothy Redman and Claire Higgins
All we want is to keep the pool
Protester Claire Higgins

Since then there had been a campaign to try to save the building which was opened in 1927 after it was paid for through miners' contributions .

Several demonstrations have taken place protesting about the planned demolition of the pool, but Torfaen council has insisted both it and the adjacent leisure centre building must go.

An action group set up by protestors have formed a business plan supported by Blaenavon Town Council to run the pool privately but they say this was rejected by Torfaen council.

Earlier this week contractors moved on to both sites and local people said they feared that meant the pool was to be pulled down.

Blaenavon swimming pool
Local people say they intend to hold daily protests

Speaking at Friday's protest, Claire Higgins said: "All we want is to keep the pool".

Another protester Dorothy Redman said: "There is enough room for the pool and the new school here. It's a very well used facility.

"They tell us we can go to Pontypool to swim but it's not big enough and it gets very busy".

Fellow protester Reverend Dr Jason Bray added: "This is a deprived area, a community first area and in a sense they are supposed to be protecting areas like this, but it seems they are punishing us".

He said although Blaenavon had received many grants over the years, it was mainly directed at tourism and he described it as being "like a theme- park town".

Around 15 protesters gathered outside the building, with many expressing fear that if the pool is demolished local children will swim in ponds in the area instead.

They said they feared the facility would be demolished by Christmas.

Petition to reopen leisure centre
17 Jul 07 |  South East Wales
Mass swim in leisure centre demo
09 Jul 07 |  South East Wales
GPs back leisure centre campaign
05 Jun 07 |  South East Wales
Demo for leisure centre to reopen
18 May 07 |  South East Wales


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific