Fight to save Eastney Swimming Pool continues as plea is made for memorial for the Cockleshell Heroes

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Campaigners are continuing their fight to save Eastney Swimming Pool and install a memorial to the Cockleshell Heroes.

Portsmouth City Council’s plans to build a new swimming pool and leisure centre in Bransbury Park would lead to the demolition of the historic pool if approved by planners. Thousands of residents object to the loss of green space, trees, and sports facilities, which was recently highlighted by Sport England. The campaign’s Facebook group, ‘Eastney Pool Redevelopment,’ has garnered more than 2,400 members.

A campaign spokesperson said: “While researching the history of Eastney Pool, where the Cockleshell Heroes trained and the worldwide sport of underwater hockey was invented and first played, we discovered the Cockleshell Heroes memorial at Lumps Fort, where they completed their training.

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“We reported to the council before D-Day and Armed Forces Day that the memorial to the war heroes was dirty and unreadable. Unfortunately, the memorial’s plaque is at ground level, requiring people to lie on the ground to read it.

Support for Eastney Swimming PoolSupport for Eastney Swimming Pool
Support for Eastney Swimming Pool

“We have cleaned the plaque and offered to refit it at a readable height at no cost, but we need permission to do so and have yet to receive a response from the council. Although it’s too late for the D-Day commemorations, we believe this should still be addressed.

“We plan to petition the council to install a companion memorial to the Cockleshell Heroes at the Eastney Pool site.”

The council’s planning documents for the Bransbury facility indicate that Eastney Pool has reached “the end of its life cycle” and suffers from poor transport links.

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The decision to permanently close the pool was made in February 2021 after the public were consulted on refurbishment costs.

Pictured is: Eastney Swimming Pool

Picture: Keith Woodland (300321-16)Pictured is: Eastney Swimming Pool

Picture: Keith Woodland (300321-16)
Pictured is: Eastney Swimming Pool Picture: Keith Woodland (300321-16)

Built in 1904 as part of The Royal Marines’ Barracks, Eastney Swimming Pool was used to train “The Cockleshell Heroes,” who in 1942 canoed up the River Gironde to attack Nazi ships.

The planning decision for the Bransbury project has been delayed until September.