Manchester

Withington Baths wins two-year reprieve from closure

Withington Baths
Image caption The baths were due to close next month

A council-run swimming pool in Manchester has been given a two-year reprieve after more than 8,000 people signed a petition to save it.

Withington Baths was earmarked for closure along with pools in Miles Platting, Broadway and Levenshulme.

It has now been decided the baths will stay open until a new facility is opened at Hough End at 2015.

Manchester City Council said Withington had a business case which should not require extra council funding.

It hopes community campaigners will be able to raise some of the cash needed to cover the costs of running the pool for the next two years.

'Over the moon'

The council changes to leisure services are being made as part of plans to save £80m from its budget.

Jim Battle, deputy council leader, said: "Our leisure strategy involves replacing old, expensive-to-run and underused pools with new modern facilities which will promote increased use.

Image caption Hundreds of people protested over plans to close the baths

"We believe this is approach will deliver the best services possible for residents, given the financial constraints we face."

About 500 people joined a protest against plans to close Withington Baths earlier this month.

On Tuesday, campaigners handed their petition in at Manchester Town Hall.

Sian Astley, one of the organisers of the Save Withington Baths campaign, said: "The Save Withington Baths campaign is delighted to learn that councillors have listened to our community voice, and that our baths will not be closing in March 2013."

Withington councillor Simon Wheale, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Manchester, who supported the residents' campaign, said: "I am over the moon that people power has worked and congratulate the Save Withington Baths team for their inspirational and truly brilliant campaigning.

"It is really important that the council have now recognised how valuable Withington Baths are and that they will use new public health money in a new business plan to save Withington Baths."

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