Coventry 50m pool to close and be replaced by £37m centre

Fairfax Street sports centre The Fairfax Street sport centre has been recommended for closure by Coventry City Council

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The only 50m swimming pool in the West Midlands is to close and be replaced by a new £37m leisure centre, under plans revealed by Coventry City Council.

The authority has recommended that the Fairfax Street sport centre should shut following a consultation.

About 11,000 people signed a petition to keep the Olympic-sized pool.

The new centre in New Union street will have a 25m pool instead because it could not afford to build and run a 50m pool, the authority said.

It would mean the region would not have a 50m pool until one opens at the University of Birmingham in 2016.

Excavation work has been completed on the Olympic-sized pool on Bristol Road as part of a £55m sports complex, which the university said would be open to the public, as well as its students.

'People's views'

Coventry City Council said its new leisure centre would also have a water park with slides, a fitness suite, climbing wall, squash courts and a spa.

It said the new plan had been drawn up following a six-week public consultation.

Kevin Maton, cabinet member for business, enterprise and employment, said: "If the money was there, of course we'd love to provide a 50m pool in the city centre but we're simply not able to justify the expense to taxpayers."

Jo Deakin, from Coventry Swimming Club, who helped organise the petition, said: "It feels like people's views haven't been listened to.

"[The council] haven't done a feasibility report into having a 50m pool at the new site so we're a bit puzzled as to why more information hasn't been gathered and why they haven't talked to other cities that have them."

The plans are expected to be finalised by the city council on 5 August.

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