Closure fears for Yorkshire swimming pools with four in ten over 40 years old

Four in ten of Yorkshire’s swimming pools are over 40 years old - putting them at risk of potential closure in coming years.

Four in ten of Yorkshire's swimming pools are over 40 years old. Picture: Adobe.

Research by the JPIMedia’s Investigations and Data Unit has found the total of 77 of the Yorkshire and Humber’s 196 pools are over four decades old.

According to national governing body Swim England, the average lifespan of a swimming pool is 38 years.

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The figures for Yorkshire include all of the region’s three lidos, one of the six diving pools, 54 out of 112 general swimming pools, and 19 learner/teacher/training pools.

In 2019, Swim England’s Value of Swimming report warned that the number of swimming pools in England could fall from almost 5,000 in the 2000s to under 2,000 by the 2030s as a result of many pools built in the 1960s coming to the end of their lifespan.

A spokesperson from Swim England said today: “For everyone to be able to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of swimming, it is absolutely vital that there are appropriate facilities in the right locations.

“Swim England’s 2019 Value of Swimming report forecast that the number of pools in England is set to decline by 40 per cent by the end of the decade, potentially shutting millions out of the activities they love. The coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated the issue and it’s clear that local authorities need both short and long-term funding for facilities.

“Next month, we will be publishing a Value of Facilities report containing new insight which will give a clearer picture of the issue and the steps that need to be taken.”

Great Britain Diving Federation president Jim McNally has warned that access to diving pools had become a “postcode lottery”, thanks to the loss of ageing facilities and a recent funding focus by sports bodies on a handful of ‘centres of excellence’ for elite athletes. “To that end, the Government policy of providing sport for all is in tatters,” he said.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said the Government has spent £100m on a National Leisure Centre Recovery Fund which secured the survival and reopening of more than 1,100 swimming pools during the pandemic.

Many children 'unable to complete a length'

Swim England found that almost one-quarter of children leave primary school unable to swim a full length.

Its Value of Swimming report said: “For some children, school is the only place they will have the opportunity to learn to swim.

“Too many children are being failed by the system with 23 per cent of children leaving primary school unable to swim the statutory 25 metres while one in five cannot self-rescue.

"Swimming ability is affected by location. Only 45 per cent of children and young people going to school in the most deprived areas of the country can

swim 25 metres, compared to 76 per cent in the least deprived areas."

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