Worcester’s MP, Robin Walker, has expressed his delight at the decision of Sport England to back Worcester’s new 8 lane swimming pool and congratulated Worcester city Council on their successful bid for funding.

Having consistently called for the council to be ambitious in their plans for a County standard pool the MP has warmly welcomed the decision, confirmed today, that £2 million towards its costs will be lottery funded by Sport England. This means that the debt burden that the Council will take on to develop the pool will be significantly lower.

Sport England awards National Lottery funding and will make this grant from its Strategic Facilities Fund. This is devoted to supporting the right facilities in the right areas to get more people to play sport. The funding is a recognition of the importance of the pool – construction of which has just begun – in developing Worcester as a vibrant sporting city.

Councillor Mike Johnson, Worcester City Council’s Cabinet member for Sport, Leisure and Retail, said: “This is fantastic news for Worcester, for our local swimmers and for the City Council. Sport England’s support is a recognition of the fantastic quality of the new pool that is about to be built and will, of course, reduce the overall cost of the scheme to our local Council Tax payers.”

The new £10.5m eight-lane swimming pool complex is being built as an extension to Perdiswell Leisure Centre. It will have facilities for swimmers of all abilities and be able to host regional competitions – a first for the City. The scheme will also include a major refurbishment of the leisure centre, providing many new facilities, including fitness studios, 120 gym stations, a fully refurbished sports hall, a café and enhanced wheelchair access.

The new swimming pool at Perdiswell Leisure Centre is scheduled to open in early 2017 at which time the current Sansome Walk swimming pool will be closed. The pool will be built by Worcestershire-based developer Speller Metcalfe and will be operated by Freedom Leisure, which has been awarded a 10-year contract to manage all the Council’s sport and leisure centres.

Commenting on the announcement Robin said:

“This is a huge result for Worcester. I always said we should be as ambitious as possible in order to attract national funding and now we have a top class facility and the funding to support it. Our new swimming pool is being recognised for the strategic asset that it is and this welcome investment by the national body for sport will help our city council to meet the costs of developing a truly top class facility. This is great news for Worcester and for all sports in Worcester.”

“I want to congratulate all those at the council and in Worcester Swimming Club who have campaigned so hard for the right outcome. When Labour downgraded plans for the pool you didn’t accept it but kept on campaigning for the best facility we could get. I am delighted that the Conservatives on Worcester City Council reinstated the full eight lane pool that our city needs and that decision has been vindicated 100% by this announcement today.”