Woking Tories slam Lib Dems' plan to close Pool in the Park – Woking News and Mail

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Conservatives in Woking have come out strongly against Liberal Democrat plans to close the Pool in the Park as part of the ruling party’s programme of cuts.
The proposal, a phased closure of the landmark swimming venue over three years, was just one element of the Medium-Term Financial Strategy presented to address the council’s budget shortfall.
Under the tagline “Woking without the Pool in the Park wouldn’t be Woking”, the Conservatives have mounted a determined defence of the pool and its facilities.
“Generations of Woking residents have learnt to swim and enjoyed water play in the Woking Park facility and its unique appearance has been become a local landmark,” they argue.
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“In the recent consultation with residents about potential service cuts, residents made it abundantly clear they wished to see leisure services retained, especially the Pool in the Park. This closure completely ignores resident views.
“But the Lib Dem council, led by Cllr Ann-Marie Barker and its deputy leader, the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Cllr Will Forster, has made the choice to address Woking’s financial challenges with a fire sale of assets and a savage programme of cuts.”
Woking MP Jonathan Lord was also highly critical of the decision.
“We all know about the financial challenges Woking faces,” he said. “The Lib Dems got themselves elected on a clear promise that they would tackle the debt. But they have failed and this closure of the Pool in the Park is the wrong choice.
“Scores of children have enjoyed the waterslides and played in the Leisure Lagoon. If we close everything that makes Woking what it is, what are we left with?
“I am regularly speaking with Government about what can be done to support Woking by restructuring its debts, but this is not the time for the Lib Dem administration to take this desperate and irreversible measure. Once the Pool in the Park is gone, it’s gone forever.”
Mr Lord also noted that in his researches into the Pool in the Park there had a refurbishment spend of £2.1 million over the past five years and 303,987 visits per year, an average of 25,332 per month, compared to the Eastwood Leisure Centre in Sheerwater at 198,613 per year, an average of 16,551 per month. 
The closure of the pool would also reduce parking income from the Woking Park car park.
Cllr Kevin Davis, leader of the Conservative Group, added: “Of course we understand difficult choices have to be made and savings must be found. But we are not going to fix a £1.2 billion deficit by closing a swimming pool. 
“There are alternatives and those opportunities must be fully explored. The Lib Dems are also intending to scrap funding to Citizens Advice Woking and the Woking Community Transport Bustler Service, whereas the Section 114 process specifically states that the vulnerable should be protected.
“The decisions being made by this Lib Dem administration are wrong. They need to re-think their approach and make different political choices if we are to solve these problems whilst bringing local residents along with us.”
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Originally posted 2023-09-17 22:00:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter