Campaign to save Arthur Hill Memorial Baths fails

Image source, Google
Image caption, The Arthur Hill Memorial Baths in Reading was closed in December

A community campaign to save a 105-year-old swimming pool has failed.

The Arthur Hill Memorial Baths in Reading was closed in December after the borough council said it would cost £700,000 to fully repair.

Campaigners raised £10,000 to start up a community interest company to keep it open and presented their proposal to councillors on Tuesday.

But, the council said the plan was not financially viable and will invest in new facilities at nearby Palmer Park.

Councillor Paul Gittings, lead member for leisure, said he was "sympathetic" to the campaigners but they had "to be realistic about the cash required".

Image caption, Reading Borough Council said it would need to spend £700,000 to bring the building up to standard

He said that as well as the capital costs needed to bring the pool up to standard, it had been losing £100,000 a year.

Campaigner Gerard Stewart said he was "disappointed but not surprised" by the decision.

"We felt we came up with a constructive and reasonable proposal," he said.

The building was donated to the borough by the family of Arthur Hill, who served as Reading's mayor between 1883 and 1887.

The original 90ft (27m) pool, which included six individual hot baths for people who did not have them at home, was opened on 29 November 1911.

Image source, Other
Image caption, This photograph shows Reading's water-polo club at the baths in about 1930

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