A SCHOOL swimming pool used by hundreds of people could be axed and replaced with a gym.
Plans are being explored to expand Springfield School in Drayton, Portsmouth, and these could see the pool concreted over and replaced with a sports hall.
Portsmouth City Council says its one of a number of options being looked at and says it recognises the value of the pool.
But supporters of the facility – used by hundreds of swimmers including members of the Katy Sexton Swim Academy – fear the swimming pool proposal is being driven by the need to save money.
Some say the pool has been out of action for five months due to a water quality issue, though this has not been confirmed.
Tory ward councillor Simon Bosher learnt to swim at the pool and went on to compete in races nationally and in Europe.
He said: ‘I heard a whisper going back several months that there was a question mark over its long-term future. But the reason given to me, wasn’t because of school places.
‘It was due to the fact the pool needed a lot spent on it.’
He added: ‘It would certainly be a loss.
‘Several generations of children have learnt to swim in that pool, for what is fundamentally serving an island community.
‘I used to swim there and it was a fantastic resource for the local community.’
Tory education boss, Cllr Neill Young, said: ‘As a city, we need more secondary school places.
‘To help with this, we are looking at potential ways to expand several schools including Springfield.
‘There are a number of ways we could expand Springfield, including an option that includes redeveloping the pool area as a sports hall gymnasium space.
‘At the moment, we’re carefully looking at the viability of various options.
‘The council and the school recognise that the pool is well-regarded within the community, and once the options have been evaluated, the council, in partnership with the school, will seek feedback on the preferred option from the community including parents and staff.’
Others fear the public are not being involved.
Resident Graham Crocker said: ‘Nobody, to our knowledge, including parents, teachers, children or clubs, has been notified of this proposal.’