Hopes for new swimming pool are dashed

Morley Leisure Centre. (d15061022)
Morley Leisure Centre. (d15061022)

Hopes of building an extra swimming pool in Morley have been dashed after councillors were told that the funds are simply not available.

Members of the Morley Borough Independents recently put forward the ambitious idea of building another pool to support the growing demand for swimming.

Morley Leisure Centre was one of the best performing centres in the Leeds area with more than 350,000 visits between April 2016 and January of this year.

Although costly, the independent councillors said community payments triggered by the additional 2,000-plus homes proposed for Morley in the coming years could have generated a significant capital receipt to support such a project.

But following a meeting with Leeds City Council officers at the Queensway centre, the idea was shelved.

Coun Judith Elliott said “We explored the options to extend the sports centre and we were told that the construction of a further pool could cost over £2 million and an additional annual charge of over £130,000 a year would need to be raised from sports centre users.

“This is not a realistic option in these challenging financial times.”

Alternatively, councillors were told that there may be options to support specific initiatives at Morley to increase the number swimming lessons that could be provided.

This could be done by training up more staff while investment in minor changes to the pool could also offer more swimming opportunities.

Coun Robert Finnigan said: “We are exploring all these options as well as additional opportunities to get more residents involved in sports and exercise.

“The town council is in a good position to offer support with such initiatives which will enhance the excellent service the Sports Centre and its staff are presently offering to Morley residents.

“Morley Leisure Centre is already the most popular centre across Leeds and our aim is to bring in even more residents to the centre so they can enjoy this facility.”