Page last updated at 08:08 GMT, Monday, 3 August 2009 09:08 UK

Bridge could fall to pool scheme

Bowstring Bridge
The council said the bridge would cost millions to restore

A historic bridge in Leicester could be demolished to make way for a £6m inner city sports centre.

De Montfort University wants to buy a site in the west end from the city council and plans to build a swimming pool which will be open to the public.

This would mean the demolition of the Bowstring bridge, a railway viaduct which has been at the centre of planning disputes for years.

The university and the council said the plan is a good deal for the city.

Leicester has not had a pool in its centre since St Margaret's closed more than 10 years ago.

Access questions

Councillor Patrick Kitterick said the city council did not have the £2.5m needed to restore the bridge.

"It's £2.5m now and it will be £5m in a few years time. Hand on heart the bridge will never be a priority for the many calls on our resources.

"The reality is that the bridge does not have a purpose and in a world of tough choices we have been given this opportunity to have a facility open to all," he said.

David Alder, from De Montfort University, promised the public would have good access to the facilities.

"There has not been a pool in the city centre for years and this is a good chance for one to be built a stone's throw from the centre.

"The details of how time will be divided has not been settled but the basic premise is it will be available to everyone all the time."

If the sale is approved by the city council later, work could begin in early 2011.

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