Talks under way for new swimming pool in Uttlesford

Discussions have begun about the possibility of building another swimming pool in Uttlesford.

Councillors are set to investigate the idea after it was argued the village of Stansted Mountfitchet was in dire need of a pool.

Addressing Uttlesford District Council’s scrutiny committee, Cllr Joe Rich, member for Stansted North, asked chairman Cllr Elizabeth Godwin if the proposal could be looked at.

“Stansted is a village with more than 7,000 residents. There are places with fewer people that have swimming pools but we don’t,” he said afterwards.

“If you ask people in Stansted what is the one thing they would really like to see in the village, it would be a swimming pool. It is about increasing the quality of life here so that people don’t have to go to Saffron Walden, Dunmow or Stortford to go swimming.

“Schools are affected, too, with children having to get bussed to a swimming pool to be taught how to swim – that is unsatisfactory.”

Cllr Rich added: “When I put the idea forward it was very enthusiastically received by the chairman. I don’t doubt that it would be very expensive but it will happen sooner or later – probably at the Romeera leisure centre.”

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Leisure Connection runs Lord Butler in Saffron Walden, Mountfitchet Romeera in Stansted and Great Dunmow Leisure Centre. It part-holds a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract for leisure services across Uttlesford.

In 2002, almost £1million was pumped into rejuvenating Lord Butler, while Dunmow’s £5m centre and the £2m facility at Stansted were built shortly after.

At the time, the £11.4m PFI contract was unable to cover the cost of adding a swimming pool to the Romeera centre as well as the Dunmow and Saffron Walden facilities.

Fellow scrutiny committee member, Cllr David Morson, remembers the discussions 11 years ago. He said: “The whole thing was getting extremely expensive and it was decided not to go ahead with a pool in Stansted for this reason.”

The Reporter and Broadcast understands the council would also like to see swimming pool facilities which better cater for disabled people. Officers will be investigating Cllr Rich’s suggestion and a report is set to be drawn up in the coming months.