After its users put forward a passionate defence of Yearsley Pool’s importance to the city, councillors have agreed to conduct a review of its future.
The news was greeted with relief by campaigners who feared for the pool’s future. Last September City of York Council said it would cut the £250,000 annual subsidy given to the pool from 2016.
Many users of the pool feared this would spell the end of the baths that were built by Rowntrees and gifted to the city in 1909. A petition demanding the pool be saved has been signed by more than 6,500 people.
At a meeting of the council’s corporate & scrutiny management committee on Monday (January 12), pool users urged councillors to carry out an inquiry into the future of the pool.
‘It has produced Olympians’
Fiona Evans of the Yearsley Pool Action Group was one of those to speak. She told the meeting about the importance of the pool:
However, its greatest contribution is to the health and fitness of the York and wider community.
Given its importance she said the pool’s “future should be determined by a credible, and tangible process that is guided by the protocol of justice and public scrutiny”.
The fact this hadn’t happened was a “travesty of justice””
Pool users accepted the promises in good faith, sitting through “nearly three years of procurement details”.
The same officers and councilors now expect us to accept another review process in good faith, without any scrutiny protocols.
Tonight this committee has the power to redress this injustice, please accept our plea and initiate a process to try and secure a future for a vital public health facility.
Following these impassioned pleas, councillors from all parties backed a Liberal Democrat call for a review into the future of Yearsley Pool.
This will investigate ways to reduce the subsidy given to the pool while securing its long-term future.
The inquiry will take place alongside work that is planned to be undertaken by council officers on the future of the pool.
Lib Dem group leader Cllr Keith Aspden said this at the meeting:
This involvement adds significant credibility to the process. It will also send out a clear message that we are committed to keeping the pool open.”
You can read more detail about the Yearsley Swimming Pool feasibility study in the council documents – from page 27 of this PDF.