Mark Jenkinson MP has launched a campaign to bring back Keswick Pool.
When he was Deputy Leader of Allerdale Borough Council, he helped to secure a stay of execution for the pool, putting a stop to Labour’s plans to sell it off for residential development through the controversial Allerdale Investment Partnership.
But the venue had been suffering from a major leak - a literal drain on taxpayers money - and the decision was taken to permanently shut in 2021 following complications in the attempted reopening post-Covid.
Even after the closure, the Conservative Executive of Allerdale Borough Council had been working with the community to improve the town’s leisure facilities.
A consultation exercise was launched to determine the sort of facilities which were needed in Keswick, with a full report published in March 2022.
A subsequent feasibility study published in March 2023 proposed two options both including a swimming pool - one at a cost of £9.3m and a larger option at £13.6m.
In April 2023 the baton passed to Cumberland Council, which shelved the project to concentrate funding on other pools, such as Carlisle and Workington.
Mark Jenkinson MP said: “Our local Labour-led councils don't have great track record when it comes to swimming pools.
Cumbria County Council closed Wigton Baths until it was saved by a local charity. The same administration closed the Netherhall School swimming pool for the sake of just £150,000 investment.
“When I secured nearly £5m government funding for a new pool in Maryport as part of the Maryport High Street funding, Conservative-controlled Allerdale Borough Council embraced it, finding the additional capital required to deal with rising construction costs.
“When the baton again passed to Labour-led Cumberland Council, they refused the government funding both to build and to run it - cancelling the plans in the face of widespread public opposition.
In June 2023 they said they'd 'look again', but local councillors have since fallen silent. The people of Keswick shouldn’t settle for second best. I am prepared to fight for this pool, and I hope you will join me."
Those who wish to sign up to the campaign can do so here: