ON Tuesday, November 6, 2012, the St Helens Star reported that St Helens Council had announced they were conducting a consultation over a proposal to "mothball" the swimming pool at Sutton Leisure Centre.
The news article written at the time included a statement from St Helens Council which stated the following and I quote: "The pool is mainly used by schools and the provision of swimming lessons.
“Should the pool close, school swimming and swimming lessons would be transferred to the newly refurbished Parr Pool which now has a new teaching pool to add to two other pools at the new look centre." On January 9, 2013, St Helens Council's Cabinet members were due to hold their next meeting.
Item 10 on the agenda was due to be a report from Mr Bob Hepworth Director of Urban Regeneration Housing and Culture, titled, "Sutton Leisure Centre-Closure of Swimming Pool" Item 2.6 and Item 2.7 in this report both indicates and suggests that school swimming lessons have already been switched from Sutton to Parr swimming pool and that St Helens Council now intends to close rather than "mothball" the swimming pool, and further plans to restrict the opening hours of Sutton Leisure Centre from 4pm-10pm on weekdays and only open it on weekends to accommodate events as required.
None of this was included or mentioned as part of the consultation process, which looks to be completely meaningless in the light of the report, as it appears a decision has already been made to turn Sutton into a part-time Leisure Centre.
We all know money is tight and Councils are having to deal with cuts, but the lack of openness about the full nature of these plans is shameful especially considering the Cabinet was also meeting to discuss the new Health and Wellbeing strategy for St Helens at the same meeting.
Anthony Wilson, Marshalls Cross Road, Sutton, St Helens