CHARD NEWS: Cresta pool public meeting aims to galvanize amazing community spirit

CHARD NEWS: Cresta pool public meeting aims to galvanize amazing community spirit

A SPECIAL public meeting will be held later this month for campaigners feeling angry and dejected after Somerset County Council rejected their bid to save the Cresta swimming pool in Chard from permanent closure.

People were left devastated when Somerset County Council turned down their bid to keep the pool open.

Public feeling continues to run high in the area about the decision and so a public meeting will be held at St Mary’s Church in Chard on Wednesday, October 10, 2018, to discuss “what can be done now.”

The trustees of the campaigning Kingfisher Community Pool group have been inundated by questions, queries, concerns and pure anger/despondency from residents in Chard, and the surrounding area.

A poll was set up on social media to ask residents if they felt a public meeting to discuss matters was in order. To date, more than 100 people have said yes and around 30 have said no, but this has resulted in the trustees agreeing to hold another public meeting.

The meeting will be held to discuss and update everyone, and talk through plans for reimbursement and distribution of funds raised. Somerset County Council will be invited, at the request of many residents.

The meeting on October 10 will be held between 6.30pm and 8pm and Cllr Amanda Broom, one of the trustees, said she hopes to “galvanize this amazing community spirit” that is so apparent in Chard.

“There has been an overwhelming response by people who are angry, disappointed, and just fed up that yet again Chard is being overlooked,” said Cllr Broom.

“The general consensus is that people want to speak and be heard about how they are feeling. It will be a sad meeting, but we do need to galvanise this amazing community spirit - Chard should be proud of how everyone has reacted, with the exception of Somerset County Council."

Members of the public are encouraged to attend if they want to find out more about the situation, and any questions/issues can be sent ahead of the meeting to or .

Council officers reviewed two earlier drafts of the business plan put forward by the Kingfisher Community Pool group, with support from finance and legal specialists, and provided feedback to the group. The final business case was considered in great detail and assessed on principles of feasibility, viability and sustainability.

Detailed reasons for the council’s position on turning the business plan down were provided to the group’s representatives, but hinged on concerns about optimistic predictions of costs and income, a lack of contingency, unrealistic estimates regarding insurance costs and unclear plans for repairs and maintenance.

The pool, which is owned by the council, has outlived its planned lifespan by more than a decade and now needs more than £1m of investment to replace failing equipment and to bring it up to standard.