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Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water

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As reported in the Sentinel today secret talks to shut Tunstall pool (again) took place five days after councillors put the idea on hold for a year.

Senior Stoke-on-Trent City Council figures held a meeting this week over the relocation of Burslem Gymnastics Centre and Tunstall Pool.

They think they can make a saving of £336,000 over three years by moving the centres to Dimensions Leisure Centre, Burslem. Not that you could, as there is a massive size difference between the size of Dimensions swimming pool and Tunstalls.

"But it has emerged the gym switch would leave current users of Dimensions' sports hall, who pay £60,000 a year, being forced to use school halls elsewhere."

"The private meeting, attended by Councillor Derek Capey, cabinet member for sport, came less than a week after 3,165 campaigners thought they had won their battle to save Tunstall Pool."

What is even more worrying is community leaders who have campaigned solidly to save the pools and centres earmarked for closure weren't invited to the meeting.

Councillor Dave Conway, fellow ward member, who successfully fought to save Dimensions' splash pool in 2008, said: "Two years ago, the council wanted to shut Dimensions to save £60,000 a year, but now they are holding private meetings about plans which would deprive it of £60,000 a year. You couldn't make this up."

Councillor Joy Garner, Burslem North member, said: "I'm shocked these plans for the gym centre and pool are continuing, as we were assured they would be reviewed next year."

Mr Capey said he had not asked members to the meeting because he did not want it to become a political issue.

"We did talk about moving Tunstall Pool to Dimensions, but there are no plans to close the pool this year."

No costs were mentioned in moving the pool to dimensions, but the cost of a new pool, building to house it, extra cubicles to meet the demand can't come cheap.

The council's budget proposal reveals it has saved £9.8 million of the £12 million savings needed in the next financial year. That leaves a £2.28 million shortfall, which will be made up by a 2.89 per cent Council Tax rise.


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