Page last updated at 17:47 GMT, Friday, 28 August 2009 18:47 UK

Protesters stage sit-in at pool

Protesters at pool
Around 30 people occupied the Sedgemoor Splash pool

Protestors campaigning against the permanent closure of a swimming pool in Bridgwater have staged a sit-in to fight for a last minute reprieve.

Around 30 people carrying banners and wearing swimming costumes invaded Sedgemoor Splash pool.

The group said it would not leave until Sedgemoor District Council agreed to postpone the closure of the pool, which is due to happen on Sunday.

The council decided to close the pool to save money.

It said in order to bring the 18-year-old facility up to scratch, and in accordance with current legislation, it would need to spend about £4m for an extra five to seven years of use, on top of the £700,000 annual running costs.

'People in tears'

Local Labour councillor Brian Smedley said protesters would not leave the pool until the council can assure them they will continue to operate the swimming pool until the outcome of a review.

He said: "People have been in tears over this, it has provoked a lot of strong feeling in the town.

"The plan was for a swim-in but we have not been able to enter the pool - but we will be staying put inside the building."

The Sedgemoor Splash Pool Users Group has served a "pre-action protocol for judicial review" on the council claiming there were constitutional and legal failings in the decision-making process which led to the closure being agreed.

A council spokesman said the decision to close the pool had been taken democratically.

He said: "Sedgemoor District Council recognises and supports the public's wish to express their views by way of peaceful public demonstration but its first responsibility is to the safety of the pool users, especially as many of them are children and staff.

"The building has been locked with staff and the protesters inside to prevent more people joining and we hope that the situation will be resolved soon.

"It is planned that the pool will re-open at 7am on Saturday."

The pool will be demolished after closure and Tesco is the sole bidder for the site.

The proceeds of the sale will be used to fund a new swimming pool in Chilton Trinity Technology College which will open in three years.



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SEE ALSO
Pool to be shut by end of month
12 Aug 09 |  Somerset
Funds run dry for Sedgemoor Splash
09 Jul 09 |  People and Places

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