Here's the five questions that Porthill councillor Julian Dean hopes to put to the new Leisure Portfolio holder on Shropshire Council.
The council cabinet meeting is being held today (Monday 14th December) at 1pm, where the cabinet members will be asked to agree that option 4 (split-site) should be progressed with the a final decision being made in June 2021.
You can watch this meeting from the comfort of your home or office for free by following this link.
Swimming provision is item 7 on the agenda.
After not much happening this year suddenly, out-of-the-blue, Shropshire Council (SC) published an updated proposal for future swimming provision in Shrewsbury which is going to be voted on Monday 14th December 2020. The favoured option entails two 25m pools, one 4-lane training one situated at the current Quarry site and the other, 8-lane one, situated at Sundorne Sports Village (SSV), as well as a leisure pool at SSV and learner pool at the quarry.
Shropshire Council have created a cross-party member working group that has given the thumbs up to the favoured propsoal, however this working group did not have any representation from the Quarry Forum or any of the clubs and groups that use the current pool site, even though they promised to involve us at the beginning of the year. Also, we had no prior knowledge of the decision going to cabinet.
The Quarry Forum feels that a sensible sized pool needs to be built at the Quarry site as this provides the best public-transport access to everyone across Shrewsbury and Shropshire.
As reported in the Shropshire Star, the council cabinet on Wednesday agreed to investigate the two proposals put forward: single site, or split-site. A final report is planned for December (however given the delays in getting this far, don't hold out for that!).
QSFF are disappointed in the apparent veering away from decisions made previously in Cabinet and another year (it's already been 6) to wait for a final decision...
The latest report from the council has two suggested options - two pools (including 25m competition pool) in a new facility on the present site; or a split-site offering with leisure pool in the quarry and competition pool at the sports villiage.
Shropshire Council are again deferring discussing the future options for the QSFF in their cabinet meetting as they want to take more time to investigate how it fits in with the Big Town Plan. Potentially this could mean a new facility as part of a redevelopment of the Riverside centre area.
We hope the proposals will make it to cabinet later this year.
Are you a user of the Quarry Swimming & Fitness Centre? If so it would really help us if you can spend a couple of minutes answering a short survey. This will give us (the Quarry Forum and Town Council) some useful information to help with our campaign. There's only five multiple choice questions! Thank you. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VQF7Y5R
Thanks to all the supporters who came to the Cabinet meeting today at Shirehall. There was standing room only and we certainly made our feelings known!
As a result of the public feeling and some very well put arguments by the public, Councillors Hannah Fraser, Alan Mosely, Malcom Price and others, Shropshire Council have finally shown signs of listening to us.
Councillor Lee Chapman suggested a number of amendments and clarifications to the report which, in essence, mean the decision is being deferred for 12 months to allow other groups like BID, Town Council and Quarry Forum to put the case forward for keeping the pool in the town centre. The amendments were accepted by portfolio holder Stuart West.
The cabinet then voted in favour of the amended proposal.
This is actually good news! By giving groups a chance to do further work into the case for keeping the pool in town, and with the Town Council prepared to push this, we may stand a chance!
It comes as no surprise that the Council is formally putting forward the recommendation to move the pool to Shrewsbury Sports Village at Sundorne. You can read their paper, which will go before the Council's Cabinet, here.
This is despite 68% of the public wishing it to stay in the Quarry, and hundreds of people taking part in our marches through town to show the Council the support it has. Though the Council say they may give 12 months opportunity for stakeholders to present a case to keep it at the Quarry, this seems a little crazy if they've already made their decision.
The next stage is for it to be voted at in the Cabinet meeting on 13th July at 12:30 at the Shirehall.
Please, if you can spare an hour of your day, come to Shirehall before that meeting so we can go into the public gallery and show the Council officers that we think they are on the verge of making a decision they will later regret.
Bernard Wills, chairman of the Quarry Forum, which has been campaigning to keep the pool at the Quarry said: "We are very disappointed but not surprised because all the indications ever since they started the process were that it was always going to be based at Sundorne.
"We will continue to fight to keep it at the Quarry and to come up with an alternative plan but if it is moved and relocated then we will continue to press for appropriate facilities and one that meets peoples needs.
"The Quarry pool does not meet today's demand and the recommended pool is a third smaller."
The Shropshire Council report which will recommend the location for Shrewsbury's swimming pool will be release tomorrow, Thursday. The next stage will be that this goes to the Cabinet meeting on 13th July where it will be voted on by SC Councillors.
The Cabinet meeting is open to the public, so if you can make it we'd really like supporters to attend this meeting and make it clear to the Councillors that the majority of people want it kept in the town centre. We will be meeting outside Shirehall on 13th July at 12pm.
Thank you to all those who came, spoke, played and organised the march in town on Saturday 2nd July. It was very well attended and had some good coverage by the BBC and Shropshire Star.
Thanks to Shrewsbury Town Council who last night offered to give the people of Shrewsbury all their support in looking at a sustainable plan for the Quarry site, or another central location for the pool. They also called on Shropshire Council to have a one year delay in making the decision on the location.
This makes it even more important to show our support and put pressure on Shropshire Council by joining the march on Saturday.
Read more on the Shropshire Star article.
Shropshire Council's cabinet are voting on the fate of the Quarry Pool on Wednesday 13th July. In order to show them that many people feel that closing this site and moving the pool to a new out-of-town location would be a poor decision that we all will later regret, the Quarry Forum are organising another public rally through the town centre on 2nd July starting at 11am at the top of Pride Hill and ending in the Quarry park.
Please, if you can, and feel that we need to maintain community assets like the pool, and invest in improving it then come and join us!
The more people we have the better!
Shropshire Council have now said that they will make a decision on Wednesday 13th July on the location - despite the fact that:
- They have asked the Forum and the Business Improvement District to put together a feasibility study and business plan for the Quarry site to be ready in September
So why make a decision in July?
- There is no strategic plan or a Vision document for the town.
What about knock on effects to the town centre cafes, businesses, etc? They should be promoting the town centre not moving everything out of it.
- Consultants are still being paid by Shropshire Council to analyse the Council's consultation.
We estimate the costs of all the consultants, reports, staff time, etc. is to be around the £100K mark, and is still rising. This is money that could be much better spent.
- 68% of the town want it to stay in the Centre
This figure is taken from Shropshire Council survey -- which they seem intent on ignoring.
What would the town centre look like without any leisure facilities ?
How much will this decision be driven by Serco, a commercial, for profit organisation with no interest in Shrewsbury?
Please lobby your councillor! Please spread the word.
And watch this space!
Walking past the centre today I noticed the rather badly named "Corner Bakery Cafe" has got some bold new signage and a new name - "The Quarry Cafe". Nice to see it getting a bit of a facelift too with the painters and decorators being in recently. There's also free Wifi, new tables and chairs on the way and Costa Cafe facilities.
Other investements are happening as well with the gym set to get some new equipment soon.
With the catastrophic financial news from Shropshire Council and no budget for leisure facilities including the Quarry Centre from 2017, the Forum asked the Shropshire Council Cabinet:
"What other management and cost reduction options have been looked at including community involvement ?"
They told us they have been "exploring all management options and operational models of leisure facilities... it has been Shropshire Council's objective to transfer the management and operation of centres to other operators and community organisations over the past 4/5 years"
We are not convinced that this has been their policy - we suggested more community involvement two years ago - but hope it will be in the future.
We are now waiting for an answer to our question on what will happen to the long contracts with Shropshire Leisure Community Trust and Serco if they close these centres down. Will keep you posted....
Never had the opportunity to learn to swim? The Quarry Swimming and Fitness Centre are offering free swimming lessons every Monday 13.00-13.30pm and Thursday 19.00-19.30pm for adults aged 18-35.
Note: At the time of writing this page shows the offer is for parents aged 18-25, but we understand the offer is open to any adults aged 18-35 at the moment, so get in there quick!
Shrewsbury BID and Shropshire Society of Architects have called in national experts in architecture and urban planning to lead a public debate on the future of the town's Quarry Swimming Pool.
The open meeting on Thursday 4th February at University Centre Shrewsbury, Guildhall, will consider the importance of having centrally located leisure facilities for local people and for socially and economically sustainable town centres.
This is something the Quarry Forum strongly believes in, and we're delighted that Shrewsbury BID and the SSA are holding this debate in the lead up to Shropshire Council making its decision on the future of the Quarry centre.
More information and details on how to register to attend are on the Shrewsbury BID website.
On Sunday 24th Jan, the Quarry Forum held a successful fun day at the pool to raise awareness and support for keeping the pool in the town centre and our use it or lose it message. There was live music, free aqua zumba sessions, face painting, crafts as well as representativies from the scuba club and Shrewsbury Masters.
A big thank you to everyone involved and for the support everyone gave us.
You can read more about it in this Shropshire Star article.
Contrary to recent reports in the press we have been informed by the Council that the final decision will be made in the late spring or early summer, not the end of the year.
Both Shrewsbury Business Improvement District (BID) - an organisation representing many businesses in town - and the town's mayor Miles Kenny have expressed their concerns over the future of the pool in the Quarry. The mayor says it would be “ludicrous” to move it following the news that 68% of the people who responded to the Council's consultation chose for the pool to remain in the Quarry. “If it moves to Sundorne there would be less car parking spaces." and "issues with public transport" Councillor Kenny says - something the Quarry Forum have been pushing the Council on too. BID says the results should “focus minds” on it remaining in the town centre
Join us at the Quarry Swimming and Fitness Centre on Sunday 24th January from 12.30 to 3.30pm for live music, face painting and crafts - as well as a swim (before face painting!).
Children get to swim for just £1!
Do something different, feel good - and support your pool!
The results of the consultation that Shropshire Council ran last year have shown that an overwhelming 68% of respondants want the pool to stay where it is in the Quarry.
The latest guidelines from Sport England have introduced 10 design principles for sport facilities with key points such as facilities being central, walkable and cycleable to and central to the community. Click on this article to read more.
Make the Quarry Centre part of your new year resolutions - use it or lose it! If you can help support us in our campaign in any way, please let us know!
Members of the Quarry Forum volunteered their Sunday evening to help start some cleaning work in the main ladies changing rooms for the Quarry pool. Helped by three members of staff we tackled the drains and cleared a lot of accumulated dirt off the floor and drain channels.
At the end of the public consultation period on Friday 30th October the Quarry Swimming and Fitness Forum handed in our formal response document to Shropshire Council. In preparing the report we examined the Options Report prepared for Shropshire Council by Strategic Leisure, the Facilities Planning model which underpins the Options report, and three recent surveys completed by townspeople and pool users. Our concern is that Shrewsbury should have a swimming facility to be proud of, that serves the town for decades to come. We have grave concerns that the Options Report on which the Council will largely base its decision regarding the future of the pool is significantly flawed.
The Shropshire Council Cabinet meeting is taking place at 12:30pm on Wednesday 13th July. At this meeting SC will present their report on the future of swimming in Shrewsbury and will vote on their favoured option which we anticipate will be to relocate the pool to Sundorne. This will have less capacity (2 pools instead of 4), less parking (they will build the new pool on the existing car park) and far less accessible to the people of Shrewsbury AND it goes against the 68% of the public who said they want the pool kept in the town centre.
In order to show the Cabinet the feeling of the people of Shrewsbury please come along to Shirehall on the 13th for approx. 12pm. The cabinet meeting is open to members of the public.
Remember that the decisions are being made by a majority of Councillors who don't live in Shrewsbury (the main stakeholder comes from Shifnal) and so have no real interest in the prosperity of our town - to them it is mostly about money.
Though we probably won't be able to sway the vote, just the show of force and press coverage will hopefully show that the people of Shrewsbury won't take these decisions lying down. And, as has been covered in the press lately, SC have given 12 months for groups such as the Town Council, BID and us, the Quarry Swimming and Fitness Forum, to come up with a business plan for keeping a pool in the town centre, so it begs the question why are SC making a decision now on the location of the pool?
Thank you for your continued support and we'll hopefully see you at Shirehall on the 13th at 12pm.