A web petition has been set up in a bid to save the St George’s Hydrotherapy Pool in Peterborough.
The pool is facing permanent closure after The Peterborough Telegraph exclusively revealed Peterborough City Council said the facility would be ‘mothballed’ in a letter to councillors earlier this month.
The authority had been in discussions to sell the pool to physiotherapist and businessman Ranjith Mahamani - but they pulled the plug on the sale, saying it would cost the council too much money to get it in a condition to enable the deal to be done.
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Today a petition has been set up by the St George’s Hydrotherapy Users Group in a bid to save the pool.
The petition says: “St George’s has over 4,500 registered users. 250 people of all ages were accessing the pool each week before the pool was temporarily closed due to the pandemic. We, the Friends of St George’s and our service users and supporters, are extremely concerned to learn that the Council has pulled out of the sale of the pool - where continued community access was agreed - to a local aquatic physiotherapist at the eleventh hour.
“This sale appeared in Phase 1 of 22/23 Budget Proposals which were voted through at Full Council.
“The Council has stated that it cannot afford to pay the preparation costs for the sale. However, the sale price would more than compensate for this. The refurbishment, re-opening and running costs would be at the buyer’s expense, not the Council’s.
“Furthermore, the sale came with a guarantee of 20 hours of community pool use at affordable prices.
“Therefore, we cannot understand and do not accept the Council’s decision to ‘mothball’ the facility rather than sell it.
“Not allowing the pool to re-open would a have negative impact on the pool’s users. Everyone pays to use the pool to improve their health and wellbeing and for pain relief.
“85% of St George’s users have a disability or long-term health condition. 33% of these have a learning disability too. Others used the pool for rehabilitation, often after accidents or surgery. Anyone might have the need to self-refer to St George’s at any time.
“St George’s delivers £1,525,000 value to Peterborough each year and there is no other facility like it in the area.
“Therefore, we, the undersigned, urge Peterborough City Council to resume negotiations with a local purchaser so that St George’s Community Hydrotherapy Pool will be available for use by Peterborough residents in the months and years to come.”
The petition is available to sign at https://democracy.peterborough.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=111&RPID=8142263&HPID=8142263