Progress made on plans for new swimming pool in St Neots

Councillor Barry Chapman.

Councillor Barry Chapman. - Credit: Archant

Plans to build a new swimming pool in St Neots have taken a significant step forward with the announcement that a new charitable trust will be set up to oversee the project.

An AGM will be held in the next few weeks to appoint nine trustees who will draw up plans for a new splash park or pool, which is likely to be built on the old outdoor swimming pool site in Huntingdon Street.

A meeting of the current St Neots Swimming Pool Trust, made up entirely of town councillors, was held on January 27 to hand over the reins to a new charitable body which will be made up predominately of members of the public who have knowledge or expertise to offer. The remaining places could be filled by town councillors.

At last week’s meeting, six people put themselves forward to be trustees and the current trust members voted unanimously to accept them onto the new trust and they will be formally adopted at the AGM. Several plans have been put forward over the years but the project has been dogged by disagreements and arguments amongst the trustees who have been unable to agree a suitable plan.

Current trust chairman Barry Chapman, who remains tight-lipped about whether or not he will put himself forward for a place on the new trust, spoke to The Hunts Post after the meeting.

“We have been talking about this since the original pool closed 15 years ago. The pool was demolished five years later and the land has been empty for 10 years and that is a huge disservice to the people of St Neots considering the need for community facilities in the town.”

Cllr Chapman said that several projects had been put forward over the years and there had been a collective “failure of successive town councils” to bring a plan to fruition.

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Cllr Chapman said he was “pleased and excited” about the new trustees who he felt would be focussed on delivering something for the town.

“A lot of work has gone into trying to get this project off the ground and it will be good to move it forward. The new trustees have a wide range of experience to take the trust forward and achieve something for the town.”

The former swimming pool site is owned by the St Neots Swimming Pool Trust, as is the adjacent land which is leased to Eat ‘n’ Bowl.

St Neots Town councillor, Bob Farrer, who has been a trustee for many years, commissioned a survey which he financed himself, to try and get the project off the ground.

“The money the trust has is for the good of the people of the town and it has to be used for sporting facilities for the town. The bulk of people want a new pool.”