St Helens Council promise £700,000 for Sutton pool and 3G pitch
A total of almost £700,000 has been promised to Sutton Leisure Centre for work on the swimming pool and a third generation artificial pitch.
St Helens Borough Council passed its 2021/22 budget, which allocates £392,000 for the swimming provision at Sutton Leisure Centre and £307,000 to the 3G pitch.
The pool closed in 2013 despite fierce opposition from residents. Some 1,142 people signed a petition at the time calling for the council to keep the facilities open.
Last year the council U-turned on its stance that the pool should remain closed to save an alleged £180,000 a year.
This followed the closure of Parr Swimming and Fitness Centre in October 2019 due to safety concerns, Labour councillors intend to reopen the Sutton facilities to get more people active in the borough.
The facilities at Parr originally closed for ceiling works, but the final surveyor’s report on the ageing building revealed larger scale repairs were needed to bring it back into public use.
Last year Coun Anthony Burns, cabinet member for public health, leisure and libraries, said the council remained “dedicated” to making sure leisure facilities including a pool remained available for the Parr community, though it is unclear whether the existing building will undergo repairs or whether it will be demolished to make way for a new building.
Once open, the pool at Sutton Leisure Centre will provide space for swimming lessons, with set times for adult lane swimming.
It was originally supposed to open last summer with a cost of £450,000 achieved through prudential borrowing. However, the pandemic delayed things.
Meanwhile, work on the state-of-the-art floodlit 3G pitch began in February. The pitch, which has been partly funded by a grant from the Football Foundation, will be located on a former playing field on the leisure centre site. It will also include perimeter fencing and portable goal storage.
Speaking at a full council meeting, Coun Robyn Hattersley, Labour Party member for Thatto Heath, said: “I have so many happy memories surrounding [Sutton] Leisure Centre. As a child I was part of several sports clubs that operated out of the centre.
“My favourite was my swimming lessons every Thursday, [which were] always my favourite part of the week.
“Myself and my colleagues have campaigned for the reopening of the swimming pool within the leisure centre as it is a key community hub, and the entire community will benefit greatly from this.”