Labour councillors refused to guarantee to keep Yearsley Pool open at last night’s meeting of York’s Full Council.
The Liberal Democrat Group moved an amendment calling on all councillors to guarantee keeping the pool open as part of the council’s £37million leisure plans.
However, the move was defeated by 12 votes to 22 with the Conservative Group abstaining.
The vote followed proposals by Labour to end the annual council subsidy to Yearsley Pool from 2016 – a move which the Yearsley Pool Action Group has warned could lead to the closure of the historic baths.
Speaking at the meeting Lib Dem Group Leader Cllr Keith Aspden, who moved the amendment, said:
“This is a very straight forward amendment. It simply calls on this council and this Labour Cabinet to commit to keeping Yearsley Pool open. In the Labour Leader’s written report he says ‘There are no plans to close Yearsley’. If this is true, then he and the Labour Group should have no problem in backing this amendment.
“Work needs to be done on how the subsidy could be reduced, but the axe should not hang over Yearsley while this work is happening.
“Yearsley Pool is treasured by its users. Since it was first announced that funding would be cut for Yearsley I have been contacted by swimmers, sports clubs and residents extremely worried about the future of the pool.
“Supporting plans for the new Community Stadium and leisure facilities at Monks Cross – as we do – should not mean that we lose facilities in other parts of the city like Yearsley Pool.
I hope we can move forward the Community Stadium plans without abandoning Yearsley Pool”.
After the defeat of the amendment the Lib Dem Group supported the plans for the new York Community Stadium.
The Liberal Democrat amendment read:
“The Council guarantees not to close Yearsley Pool during the next Council (2015-2020). As such, Council requests a detailed report for submission to Cabinet which examines ways to reduce any subsidy whilst guaranteeing not to close Yearsley Pool”.