South East Wales

Historic pool goes under the hammer

Edwardsville Pool
Image caption Edwardsville Pool in Treharris has failed to sell at auction

A swimming pool that sparked protests when it was threatened with closure has failed to sell at auction.

Campaigners rallied to save Edwardsville Swimming Pool in Treharris, Merthyr Tydfil, but were unable to secure enough money to keep it open.

Merthyr council closed the pool to make way for a new £30m leisure complex.

But now its future looks uncertain after bids fell short of the reserve price.

Generations of the same families enjoyed splashing in the pool during its 80-year history.

It was up for sale with Paul Fosh auctioneers after it was earmarked for closure to make way for the new leisure complex being built at Rhydycar.

Anne Tweedy was one of the campaigners who formed the action group to save the pool.

She said the people of Merthyr sorely miss it: "People are trying to go to Abercynon but it's not disabled-friendly so they have a job getting in the pool.

"We are really missing the exercise that swimming gave us."

Image caption Blaenavon pool was unable to escape the bulldozers

The pool is not the only leisure facility in Wales to face the axe in recent years and with the state of the economy and promised spending cuts is unlikely to be the last.

Gwynedd council wants to close Harlech pool to save money, but local people submitted a business plan to run it with a community trust.

The proposal did win backing but campaigners must wait until mid-July to find out if they have secured joint funding from the Welsh Assembly and the Big Lottery Fund.

Protesters in Blaenavon, Torfaen, failed in their bid to stop their local pool being demolished but did manage to raise £20,000, which they now hope to give to local youngsters through sport.

On Anglesey, plans to close two of the island's three swimming pools sparked fierce opposition and a consultation is currently underway.

Councillor Clive McGregor, leader of Anglesey council, said the recession is likely to sound the death knell for more pools.

'Unpalatable cuts'

He said: "Because of the financial situation the country is in, local authorities are going to have to bear the brunt of a number of unpalatable cuts in public services particularly where perhaps they are not statutory services."

Councillor Jeff Edwards, leader of Merthyr council, echoed his grim forecast.

He said: "All authorities in Wales are looking at their current expenditure and obviously there are no sacred cows.

"Every authority will be looking at every line of expenditure and that includes pools. And obviously there are facilities which are expensive commodities and one has to look at whether they are affordable or not."

The fate of the Edwardsville baths remains uncertain.

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