Campaigners fighting for a third time to save local pool
Main image of Jubilee Pool courtesy of Bristol City Council.
Knowle’s Jubilee Pool is once more under threat – with Bristol City Council launching a consultation today (12 August) for residents to give their views on its planned closure.
The heritage pool, which first opened in 1937, has fond memories for the community – with generations of local families learning to swim there.
This is the third time it has been threatened with closure – with the Friends of Jubilee Pool successfully fighting to save the facility in 2017 .
Members have now launched an e-petition asking Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees to “listen to the demands of local people and keep Jubilee pool open”.
But the council says there are concerns about “mounting costs”, along with challenges caused by Covid-19 to safely reopen pools and gyms – and it has already made “significant investment” in leisure facilities in the south of Bristol.
Three years ago a community demonstration and petition of over 6,000 signatures resulted in the council signing a five-year lease with Parkwood Leisure which runs the pool.
But along with all other pools in the UK, Jubilee was shut due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.
Save Jubilee Pool petition
The re-formed Save Jubilee Pool campaign group is now hoping the pool’s future can be debated at Full Cabinet in October – if the petition generates enough signatures.
They point out it is one of the last remaining operational 1930s pools in Bristol – accommodating a large number of groups and classes.
Save Jubilee Pool campaign member Julie Laming said: “…Whilst we are angry and disappointed about this – we’re ready to fight on behalf of the people that do and will use the pool in the future. This pool is a well-loved and much-used community facility. It’s a place for all sorts of people and ages to meet, exercise and socialise…
“The council can’t compare Hengrove Pool to Jubilee Pool as they serve different demographics of users and provide different purposes. These are complimentary not competing pools and there is a need for both. “
She said with a warmer water temperature than Hengrove – it was a “much better environment” for young children, the elderly, disabled, and those with dementia as well as people recuperating from injury. Jubilee Pool was also recommended by the Bristol Central Pain Clinic.
She added: “… Now more than ever people need access to facilities that improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing… Jubilee Pool ticks every box and that makes it invaluable.
“…The Council should have been investing as much in Jubilee Pool as Hengrove Pool and Bristol South. It’s disgraceful that they are now using the impact of under investment as the reason for closure. In spite of this we are led to believe that Jubilee Pool is profitable and in good condition and capable of continued use for a relatively modest sum…
” Once these facilities have been lost they are gone forever and we will never get them back…”
The group has also organised a demonstration of support on Saturday 22 August – asking people to come with placards and wear goggles and armbands.
Council says financial costs too great
But the council says due to the size and age of the building, a minimum of £260,000 is already needed to allow the facility “to function and prevent further deterioration” – with added costs from making Covid-secure adaptions.
Operator, Parkwood Leisure, which also runs Hengrove Leisure Centre has been working with the council to look at all options but has determined Jubilee “has no long-term viable option for operating cost effectively”.
Cabinet Member for Communities, Equalities and Public Health, Councillor Asher Craig, said: “The council has committed to better connect people to accessible and affordable leisure facilities so they can be active and lead healthier lives.
“This commitment has seen us invest heavily in south Bristol facilities including Hengrove Leisure Centre.
“As part of our strategy we must carefully balance the needs of the whole community with the costs to taxpayers and ensure we invest in sustainable and higher quality swimming facilities.
“With council funding stretched like never before and having considered a number of alternatives, we believe that the closure of Jubilee Pool is the best option, ensuring that users are aware of the facilities available to them at nearby Hengrove and Bristol South.
“This consultation is important so we can better understand how people feel about the proposed closure, and what is needed to mitigate any impact it will have on people’s lives if the closure goes ahead.”
Members will be able to use Hengrove Leisure Centre pool when it opens on 1 September with their Jubilee membership – during the consultation period.
The consultation runs from 12 August to 7 October – visit: www.bristol.gov.uk/jubileepool.
For a paper copy email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message on 0117 92 23320.
The petition to save the pool can be found here:
The demonstration will take place on Saturday 22 August at 10am outside the pool in Jubilee Road, Knowle.