South East Wales

Pontypridd poll: Big majority votes to save pool

Pontypridd paddling pool
Image caption Campaigners say the result of the poll - overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the paddling pool - has sent a strong message to Rhondda Cynon Taf council

Residents have voted overwhelmingly against plans to remove a paddling pool as part of a £6.2m lido scheme.

A community poll was held in Pontypridd after campaigners noticed Rhondda Cynon Taf council's plans to redevelop and reopen the Grade II listed lido did not include the paddling pool next door.

The poll, which is not binding, backed keeping the pool by 2,077 to 151.

The council said it could not afford to run both pools, and changes to the lido plan could scupper the entire project.

But campaigners said the result sent a strong message that residents wanted to keep the paddling pool, which is next to the lido in Ynysangharad Park.

"The council say they had consulted widely on their plans, but pointed to only 609 people who had visited the Pontypridd regeneration exhibition over four days and who were not asked any direct questions or indeed had any explanations presented regarding the plans," said Trallwn Liberal Democrat councillor Mike Powell, who had proposed the poll.

"Now they have more than 2,000 residents telling them in answer to a direct question that they want the pool to stay.

"The poll is not legally binding, but morally the council surely have an obligation to the people they purport to represent and should take their opinions on board."

At a meeting in October, residents voted 209 to 14 in favour of holding a community poll.

The council said it had already undertaken an extensive consultation on its plans with almost 800 people's views being given.

Responding to the poll result, Labour council leader Anthony Christopher said any changes to the existing plans could scupper the entire lido project.

Image caption The lido, built in an arts and crafts style, fell into disrepair in the 1980s and closed in 1991

He said it was "disappointing that individuals have chosen to play politics with this hugely important project for the future of Pontypridd".

"The council will note the outcome of the community poll at its next meeting later this month," he said.

"It must be stressed that the result of this poll is not binding on the council in any way.

"When cuts to public sector funding by the UK government are forcing difficult decisions across the country, any amendments to the current proposals, which will affect the viability of the new lido, place the entire scheme in jeopardy and potentially put at risk grant funding already made available.

"It is simply not possible to consider the two facilities side by side.

"When discussing the outcome, the council will consider the future regeneration of Pontypridd and the wider interests of Rhondda Cynon Taf which were not taken into consideration yesterday [Thursday]."

The new lido, which would be open for about four months a year, will include a new 25m pool, activity and splash pools, changing blocks and other facilities including a new cafe.

The original lido was built in 1927 in an arts and crafts style, and is the only listed lido to survive in Wales but closed in 1991.

The scheme has attracted £2.3m funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the council is now hoping to secure additional European funding.

Image caption An artist's impression of how the lido at Pontypridd would look after being restored

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites