Fresh hopes for Fakenham pool

Richard Crook. Photo: Matthew Usher

Richard Crook. Photo: Matthew Usher - Credit: Matthew Usher

Campaigners hope an extensive review of north Norfolk’s sports facilities will provide vital evidence to support their fight to attract £5m to open a new swimming pool in Fakenham.

Consultancy firm Neil Allen Associates (NAA) has been commissioned by North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) to undertake a comprehensive study of sports and leisure facilities in the district.

Provision in Fakenham, Wells and nearby villages will be assessed.

The study is expected to take six months to complete and will help guide the council’s decision making for years to come.

Representatives from Fakenham sports clubs, governing bodies, schools, facility operators and councillors have been invited to a consultation evening at Fakenham Academy’s conference room tonight.

The scope of the study includes sports halls, fitness centres, gyms, dance studios, indoor bowls centres, indoor tennis centres, squash courts, swimming pools and other indoor community facilities.

The campaign group Fakenham Swimming Pool Action (SPA) was formed in the summer to fight for a new pool for Fakenham following the closure of Fakenham Academy’s pool and due to the uncertain future of Fakenham Junior School’s swimming facilities.

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It has been estimated £5m will be needed.

Fakenham SPA member Richard Crook said: “A town of Fakenham’s size clearly needs to have a swimming pool.

“Swimming is so important for keeping people fit and healthy.

“It is great exercise for older people and it is really important for younger people to learn to swim as well.

“For us to be able to secure funding we need a study like this to take place to provide evidence of need.

“It certainly won’t ensure we definitely get a pool and there will be a lot of people competing for increasingly scarce resources.

“But it will be one of the building bricks we need in place as we move forward.

“Our campaign has the support of the doctor’s surgery, the racecourse and many others.

“We need to ensure we keep people informed, keep applying pressure and keep working together as a community to continue moving forward.”

Council-owned, privately-managed and voluntary-run facilities will all be assessed.

The council plans to use the study to develop an Indoor Leisure Facility Strategy with an appropriate Action Plan leading to full adoption by the council.

This will guide future investment and decision-making.

NAA says the main aim of the strategy will be to protect existing facilities, enhance their quality where necessary and to set out where new facilities need to be provided.