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Swimming

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many public swimming pools in England (a) closed and (b) opened in 2008. (288257)

[holding answer 20 July 2009]: In 2008, 79 swimming pools were opened and 67 closed:

Ownership

Local authority

Education

Commercial

Others

Total

Pools opened

31

15

32

1

79

Pools closed

43

10

10

4

67

We are encouraging local authorities to plan strategically for the provision of facilities so they meet modern standards and expectations. This will include rationalising existing stock where necessary.

There has been significant public investment in sports facilities in recent years which will lead to new local authority pools opening. Government and lottery money contributed to four new 50 meter pools in Sunderland, Portsmouth, Leeds and Liverpool, which means there is now at least one 50 meter pool in every region of the country.

Corby's new East Midlands International 50 meter pool opened on 24 July, and next year will see two more 50 meter pools opening in Hillingdon and Basildon.

In addition, there will be investment in 60 projects as part of the Government's Free Swimming scheme. £23 million has already been committed to this in 2009-10. This investment includes upgrades of existing facilities and new builds.