Outcry over closure of Gosport’s swimming pool

GRAND DESIGN Artist's impression of the new pool at the Holbrook Leisure centre complex
GRAND DESIGN Artist's impression of the new pool at the Holbrook Leisure centre complex
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PEOPLE have reacted angrily to the decision to shut Gosport’s leisure centre months before it was planned to close.

Gosport Borough Council will close the Holbrook Leisure Centre at the end of this month.

Serious damage to the building’s roof as a result of recent storms have left the building unsafe.

The council says it would cost £30,000 to repair and the building was only planned to last for another few months.

But closing it early means people in Gosport will be without a swimming pool until the new one opens in October or November.

Staff were also told they will have to re-apply for jobs at the new leisure centre.

Gosport’s Lib Dem leader, Cllr Peter Chegwyn, said: ‘It is dreadful timing to shut Holbrook when the Olympics are on and interest in sport will be greater than ever.

‘Many of the Holbrook staff have given years of service.

‘They deserve better treatment from the council and the new operators of the sports centre.

‘Their jobs should have been protected during the transfer.’

Following the closure of the pool on June 30, work to demolish the centre will start immediately.

The leader of Gosport Borough Council, Cllr Mark Hook, said the council would work with the leisure centre’s current operators, The Arena Group, the new operators, DC Leisure and the Job Centre to support the staff there.

DC Leisure, which will run the new leisure centre, have also guaranteed a job interview for all existing staff.

Cllr Hook said: ‘It is regrettable we have not been able to keep Holbrook open for a little longer but the roof blowing off has been the final straw.

‘It will cost a lot of money to repair for a short period of time and I cannot justify the expenditure.

‘Considering the rapid deterioration in the condition of the centre we have no choice but to close it.’

Averil Branson, 63, of Camp Road, goes to aquaerobics lessons at the pool.

She said: ‘It makes me so angry because there isn’t anything for kids to do now.

‘I’m worried about the staff and the people on the estate who have children who rely on the pool for something to do.’