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Community rally to save local pool

A swimming gala at Test Valley School

A local community group has come up with an exciting proposal for a community swimming pool located at Test Valley School

With the guidance and expertise of Swim England , a community group has plans to create a commercially sustainable community pool at Test Valley School ( ) . The current outdoor pool has been out of use for over a year and the current intent of the school, for understandable budgetary reasons, is to close it permanently in early 2022 and infill.

Fundraising is underway to create what wo u ld in effect be a fully enclosed pool with changing facilities, showers , toilets, and sustainable he ating . This would then allow the pool to be used 364 days of the year and become a valued community asset. As well as enabling Test Valley School pupils and local primary schools to use the pool all year round it would also allow the local community to benefit, including Learn to Swim lessons, lane swimming, water sports, swim fit and disability swimming . Already over £50,000 has been raised, with potentially more in the pipeline , and other sources of funding are now being urgently/actively sought.

The pool has been a financial burden to the school in recent years . The 250 Club was launched in September 2019 to pay for the ongoing running costs of the pool while a permanent long – term solution was found. There was a lot of interest and members included staff at the school, parents, and the wider community , who were all keen to renovate and upgrade the pool and enable it to be used by the community. There was also support from many local organisations and charities, including generous donations from The Leckford Estate, Trout ‘n About, the Dumbreck Charity and Stockbridge Cinema.

There is strong demand in Test Valley for pool space. There is an increasing population, with considerable housing development in local villages – including a noticeable influx of young families. Test Valley Borough Council Sport Facilities Strategy 202 0 – 2036 says there is an “ unmet demand for water space… focus on securing more community use of school pools.

The Test Valley Sport and Recreation Strategy 2015 – 2029 states a : ‘Significant shortfall of water space’ , especially in rural areas. ( If you look to section 2.2, then more specifically 2.2.18, on page 19.) – and – building/planningpolicy/ evidence – base/evidence – base – leisure

Liz Howard, Test Valley School PTA, says: “This is a fantastic new proposal which will creat e the pool into a state of the art, indoor pool with modern accessible facilities for all the community to use. Even bette r, it will be a professionally run charitable enterprise with all th e activities you would expect like swimming lessons, aqua fit, lane swimming and fun sessions.”

Test Valley Borough Council have been contacted for a comment.

If readers would like to know more or help support the financ ing of the project , please email: