Page last updated at 14:13 GMT, Friday, 5 March 2010

Campaign to save Victorian pool in Westbury

The inside of Westbury Pool
Wiltshire Council says it will take the pool's history into account

Hundreds of people have joined a campaign to fight for the future of Westbury's Victorian swimming pool.

The venue, built in the 1880s, is one of the country's oldest working pools.

Wiltshire Council is reviewing its leisure centres and has promised there will be no quick decision on the Westbury pool.

Councillor Stuart Wheeler, who is leading the review, told BBC Wiltshire that the popularity of the pool and its history would be taken into account.

Mr Wheeler said a consultation process was underway and there would be no announcement until the early summer.

There are 22 leisure centres across the county, which he said was too many.

The council is looking at the age and condition of the buildings to decide whether they are economically viable.

'Warmer water'

Bob Lee, 67, a retired science teacher from Dilton Marsh, is chairman of Save Westbury Pool.

He said: "It's a lovely, small pool and I swim there regularly.

"The architecture is lovely and older people like it because the water is warmer than at some other pools.

The outside of Westbury Pool
Supporters have called for the pool to be listed by English Heritage

"We think it could be vulnerable because, unlike some others, it is not sited next to a school and so doesn't serve school children in the way that the Trowbridge pool does.

"But we've got heritage on our side. It also has a thriving swimming club and I gather makes a small profit.

"We have asked the council's conservation officer to apply to English Heritage for the pool to be listed.

"We have also contacted the Victorian Society and they are interested in supporting us."

Colin Sweetman, a volunteer at the Westbury Visitor Centre said: "We have a petition which has already got about 200 names.

"Quite a few people come from Warminster to swim in the Westbury pool and older people find it very therapeutic.

"People would be very upset if it was to close."

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