Axing Portsmouth pool would be a '˜crime against children' campaigners say

CAMPAIGNERS battling to save an under-threat swimming pool say it would be a '˜crime' against the city's young people if it was axed.

Saturday, 25th February 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 9:06 am
Springfield School in Drayton, Portsmouth Picture: Google

More than 1,000 people have backed a petition calling on Portsmouth City Council to scrap plans to remove the pool from Springfield School, in Drayton, Portsmouth.

The council says it is part of a major new scheme to expand the school, offering more places for pupils.

But campaigners have hit back, saying the pool is a vital resource for hundreds of children across the area, teaching them ‘invaluable’ life skills.

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Residents have vented their fury over the decision to scrap the pool and replace it with a new gym.

John Hall of Portsmouth said: ‘There are not enough swimming pools in this city as it is. Closing this one would be a crime and possibly stop our kids from learning to swim – this risks their own lives and perhaps stops them helping others in distress.’

Anne Jones, also of Portsmouth, said: ‘It is an absolute necessity that children should be taught to swim.

‘Our own granddaughter learnt at Springfield and now attends as a pupil. To take this amenity away would be totally wrong.’

Four swimming schools – with a total of 700 youngsters – use the pool, as well as some 1,000 pupils from Springfield.

The largest of these is Springfield Swim Club, which is part of Southern Swim Schools. The group has taught more than 9,000 children at the site since opening in 1971 – with 450 children currently on their books.

Swimming tutor Lynn Goring-Crook teaches at the pool and was ‘very heartbroken’ by the move.

Mike Stoneman, deputy director for education at the city council said: ‘Springfield School is being refurbished to create more places for children at the school as there is a shortage of secondary school places across the city.

‘Part of the work involves converting the swimming pool to create a new sports hall, changing rooms and a fitness suite or learning area.

To sign the petition, see ipetitions.com/petition/savespringfield

Mr Stoneman said the expansion work was due to begin in June and will finish at some point in autumn.