Future of Asfordby school’s pool is in the balance

The future of the Melton borough’s last remaining school swimming pool is in the balance with ‘a significant investment’ needed to bring it up to modern standards.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 8:05 am
Updated Monday, 25th October 2021, 8:31 am
Nathan Odom, head of estates and admissions for Discovery Schools, and Sarah Sadler, executive head at Asfordby Captain's Close School, pictured by the school swimming pool EMN-211019-155142001

Pupils at Asfordby Captain’s Close have swum in it for half-a-century and village community groups and swim schools have used it over the years.

The pool has had no water in it for a year since the second coronavirus lockdown and Discovery Schools - the academy trust which manages the Saxelby Road school - has today (Thursday) launched a consultation asking parents and other community residents for their views on what to do with it.

Villagers have contacted the Melton Times to say they want the baths retained because it was built with community funding back in 1970.

The 50-year-old swimming pool at Asfordby Captain's Close School which is the subject of a new consultation to decide its future EMN-211019-160026001

But the trust, which now owns it as part of the school estate, it is not fit for purpose with no toilets, inadequately small changing rooms and no access for disabled children.

It says the pool is also too small for the needs of the swimming curriculum - it is 12m in length when modern pools need to be 25m and it is only half of the required 15m in width.

There is also an issue with the aluminium frame of the building and the lack of insulation, meaning it can be very cold to use in the winter.

Nathan Odom, head of estates and admissions for Discovery Schools, told the Melton Times: “To bring it up to modern standards it would need significant investment, hundreds of thouands of pounds.

The 50-year-old swimming pool at Asfordby Captain's Close School which is the subject of a new consultation to decide its future EMN-211019-160047001

“That’s why we want to start a consultation to determine the long term future of the pool and consider options for the site which are best for the children and for the good of the community.”

Applications for funding towards a total refurb have been rejected by organisations such as Sport England because the project does not fit their criteria.

“We do recognised the strength of feeling of some people in the community,” added Mr Odom.

“This is why we are keen to involve them in the consultation.

The 50-year-old swimming pool at Asfordby Captain's Close School which is the subject of a new consultation to decide its future EMN-211019-160036001

“If people can come up with genuine ideas for the pool site then we are happy to consider them.”

Pupils have been having lessons at Melton’s Waterfield Leisure Centre pool while theirs is closed.

It was decided to drain it during lockdown due to the cost of having to heat and treat the water while it was not being used.

Sarah Sadler, executive head at Captain Close School, which currently has 175 children aged four to 11, said: “A lot of parents have said in the past that they like the fact that the school has its own pool but it does need a lot of work to bring it up to scratch.

“No decision has been made on its future and this consultation will be important in determining what we do with the pool so we would urge parents and anyone in the community with an interest to send their views to us.”

Go to www.captains-close.leics.sch.uk/ to take part in the consultation.