Olympic champ Becky Adlington’s fury as two swimming swimming pools shut each month

Olympic champion Becky Adlington has blasted “devastating” swimming pool closures as cash-strapped city halls wrestle on the deep finish.

Almost two public swimming pools shut down each month final yr with councils battling 14 years of Tory cuts. Record-breaker Becky, 34, mentioned: “The rate of pool closures over the past few years has been devastating.

“Swimming is a vital life skill and our pools a hub for the entire community. They are used by everyone – from babies and toddlers all the way up to adults in their 90s. Swimming is fundamental to people’s physical and mental health.”

Swimming chief estimate that 75% of councils face a swimming pool scarcity by 2030 – with virtually one in three kids already leaving major college unable to swim a size. Figures present 278 native authority swimming pools have closed since 2015. While 245 have opened in that point, council are rising outsourcing their operation to personal corporations, usually making them costlier to entry.

Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies, 61, mentioned: “Many councils closed pools during Covid and did not maintain them – then they said they were too expensive to open. Sadly, this is often happening in areas of deprivation where pools are most needed as an affordable physical activity.”

In Buntingford, Herts, council bosses shut down its native pool in December after admitting very important repairs had been unaffordable. It means locals face a 20-mile spherical journey to the closest pool.

Chris Saynor, 48, whose 4 kids, 12 to 18, had been regulars at Ward Freman Pool, mentioned: “All of the 2,000 kids in the town have had their school swimming lessons cancelled. The nearest alternative pool is 10 miles away, and there are only a few buses each day.”

Swim England estimates greater than 1,000 swimming pools – together with business choices – have closed since 2010. More than 1,500 are over 40 years of age. Spokesman Fraser Nicholson mentioned: “It’s vital that everyone who wants to feel the undoubted benefits of swimming should have access to a pool. But that can only happen if there is leadership and investment from the government, councils, health and leisure partners.”

Tory sports activities minister Stuart Andrew mentioned a £60 million help package deal was in place. He mentioned: “The Government is clear on the importance of ensuring public access to swimming pools, as swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy.”