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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 July 2007, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
Leisure centre to be demolished
The roof on the leisure centre after storm damage was caused
The roof will cost an estimated 200,000 to repair
A storm-damaged swimming pool in a south Wales town will not reopen, officials have decided.

Torfaen Council has agreed not to reopen Blaenavon leisure centre despite demands by local people to repair the facilities following January storms.

But council officials have voted to approve the decision to close the pool and open a school and health provision on the site instead.

Campaigners have said they will seek a judicial review on the decision.

The facilities at Blaenavon were closed following roof damage in January which council officials estimated would cost 200,000 to repair.

The council said it wanted to put a new school, health care provision and leisure facilities on the site - but at the cost of losing the pool.

However, this plan was rejected by a some people in the town who set up a campaign group and organised a series of demonstrations about the possible closure of the pool.

Proposal plans for the leisure centre site
The pink area would be the school with the yellow for the sports area

This included handing in a petition with 2,000 names on to the Welsh Assembly Government.

But on Wednesday evening, Torfaen Council's cabinet made the decision to close the pool.

Council leader Bob Wellington said: "This was a very difficult decision for us to make.

"It has been a very emotive issue and we received many letters and a petition.

"We had to take all of these views into account before the vote took place."

He said the decision was then looked at by the scrutiny committee.

But the campaign group, Blaenavon Leisure and Swimming Troubleshooters (Blast), has said it will continue to fight the decision.

Reaction

A spokesman said the group was "appalled at the refusal to entertain the idea of a rescue package that would be part-financed by Blaenavon Town Council."

"We've agreed to sacrifice the dry side to what Torfaen describe as their vision - all we were asking was that the community should be allowed to able to run the pool," said Blast assistant secretary Gary Phillips.

"They even suggested that they could provide us with funding for a feasibility study to look into building a new pool on a completely new site, but we all know those costs would be totally unviable.

"The only thing we could afford to do is run the current pool on the current site.

"We don't understand why the council has refused to even consider that possibility. It would not affect the proposals for the new school, even if it was built on the leisure centre site."

He said the group was intending to submit a letter of intent to the council notifying it that was seeking a judicial review into the decision.


SEE ALSO
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

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