A CAMPAIGN has been launched to save Milford Haven’s outdoor paddling pool.
On Thursday, Pembrokeshire County Council voted to cut the Rath pool’s £1,000 budget, which would result in its closure.
Milford Haven councillor Stephen Joseph was “furious” that the proposal had been included in a 126-page cuts document, only sent to councillors the day before.
“Something like this means a lot to the people of Milford Haven, especially single parents, grandparents, people who don’t drive, and youngsters – it’s packed in the summer,” he said.
“To find out that it’s shutting down, I’m bleeding furious to be honest with you.
“Every year I go down there with friends of mine, a couple of town councillors, we weed the place and clean it and no-one’s go the courtesy to phone me and say that it’s closing.”
Speaking at full council, council leader Jamie Adams said a county pool was already provided at the Meads leisure centre, and proposed the town council take responsibility for the paddling pool.
Speaking to the Mercury, Cllr Joseph said he would now be approaching the town council – where he is also a member – to see if they can help.
“I can say categorically it won’t close,” he said.
“But what we need to do is secure it for the future. I don’t want this issue to rear its ugly head every year.”
Cllr Rhys Sinnett said he was dismayed to see the county council “scrabbling around for savings”, adding there was “no excuse” to not have contacted the town council earlier, ideally before it decided its precept for the coming year.
Local resident Brian Phillips, who started the Friends of Milford Haven Paddling Pool Facebook group in 2013, has also started a petition calling on the town council to take over the pool.
“We now have over 740 members in the group, and I was so delighted to see the pool being used to its full potential during the school holidays,” said Mr Phillips.
“The hard work behind the scenes to get this pool ready for the season is down to Tracy Parks, of Milford Leisure Centre, and her family, friends and volunteers, who give up their own time every year to clean up, weed, paint and fill the pool ready for the summer holidays.
“Without their hard work this pool would not be open.”
He said Milford Haven had already lost one of its outdoor pools, and was determined that history did not repeat itself.
“In 2013 I used the slogan ‘use it or lose it’ as a reminder about what happened to the old outdoor pool,” he said.
“It would break my heart to see it closed."
Mr Phillips has also volunteered to help out in any way possible.
The paddling pool is currently manned by lifeguards from leisure centre during the summer months.
A spokesman for Pembrokeshire County Council said: “Pembrokeshire County Council will work with elected members, Milford Haven Town Council and the community to ensure a bright future for the town’s paddling pool.”
- More than 300 people have signed the petition so far. To add your signature visit change.org and search ‘Save Milford Haven Paddling Pool’, or click here.