York swimming pool closure challenged

The decision by the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust to close the New Earswick swimming pool has come under fire.  The Trust announcement yesterday claimed that the pool was losing £130,000 a year and needed £1.3 million spending on building repairs.

The statement came as a surprise with the last published accounts of the Trust (covering 2016) making no reference to the pool or the looming financial crisis.

The accounts do however reveal that the Trust had assets of over £163 million including reserves of £45 million.

The organisation made an operating surplus of £1.9 million last year.

The cost of supporting the swimming pool fell from £147,000 in 2015 to £133,000 in 2016.

The Trust spent £12 million on salaries last year including £185,000 on the remuneration of its Chief Executive.  Pay increases of 2.6% were agreed for staff last year.

Huntington and New Earswick’s three Liberal Democrat councillors have launched a petition calling on the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust to reconsider plans to close the swimming pool in New Earswick.

Cllrs Keith Orrell, Chris Cullwick and Carol Runciman are encouraging residents to sign the Liberal Democrat petition online: www.yorklibdems.org.uk/neswimmingpool.

Cllr Keith Orrell said: “The swimming pool’s closure has been announced by the Trust without any consultation with users of the pool or local people, and with no attempt to explore alternative funding options.

“We appreciate that the 1% rent reduction forced on Housing Associations by the Government has put even more pressure on their budgets but we would urge the Trust to work with users and local people to explore ways of maintaining a facility which has served local people for 50 years.”

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