December 10, 2021 3.54 pm

Cash-strapped council can’t find money for Market Rasen swimming pool

Business case “unviable,” council says

West Lindsey District Council still can’t find the money to build a new swimming pool in Market Rasen after opening a £6.3million leisure centre, a report before members next week confirms.

The authority’s Corporate Policy and Resources Committee will be asked to “accept that at this time the construction of a swimming pool is unaffordable and financially unsustainable” among the recommendations of the report.

Local campaigners have been clamouring for a swimming pool to be included as part of the brand new £6.3million leisure centre on Gainsborough Road, which opened in July 2020, since plans were revealed in 2018.

They were told by council leaders it would not be sustainable or affordable and the poolless plans were approved in February 2019.

In May of that year, then-council leader Giles McNeill said the issue would be revisited.

The report before councillors next Thursday said the council and Market Rasen Town Council (helped by SLM Ltd – the authority’s leisure management company) have both reviewed the business case, exploring the wider use of the site.

The report concludes, however: “Based on the business case presented, including assumptions and estimates, at this time the business case is not viable.

“Environmental impacts would have to be understood and mitigated, and whilst there is an obvious health and wellbeing benefit, the social benefit remains low due to estimated participation levels.”

The report estimated capital costs of £4.9 million for a four lane pool option and £6.5m for a six-lane option.

It said that based on income costs it would take until year three to begin generating an operating profit.

It said there were currently no council funds available for investment and no grant funding.

The only option would be borrowing, which would add between £320,000-470,000 pressure on the budget for up to 40 years.

Environmental impacts were also undesirable and would result in further costs, it said.

Alternative options for the council include seeking more detailed analysis for around £17,000, or waiting to review the business case at a later date.

Either way residents will be disappointed to know they won’t be getting a swimming pool any time soon.

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