Bringing back Bailey Park pool is a great idea say campaigners...but it's not likely to be financially viable warns council

By Christopher Gage in Community News

A growing social media campaign to rebuild Bailey Park’s former open-air swimming pool is in the ‘early stages’, according to campaigners.

Community activists from prominent social media group Abergavenny Voice, have teamed up with Friends of Bailey Park to sound out local support for the ambitious project.

Shirley Barnfield, a member of the Friends of Bailey park group, said the venture was in its earliest stage.

“I suggested to the group that they should canvass the local councillors as they are all new now.

“They need to know what’s going on in this town and what people are asking for.

“We should be asking MCC and highlighting the needs of our town. So, that’s the first step. I think it’s definitely worth looking into. We are getting something going, but it is certainly early days.

“I am hoping that local people will come to us and then we can support them, and any ideas they may have. I think it would be a great idea,” said Mrs Barnfield.

Craig Titchener, a local campaigner, said the venture was currently ‘a pie in the sky’, but could be modelled on another project which raised £36,000 to reopen a similar pool in Lydney, England.

“We could look at crowd-funding,” said Craig. It is very early days, but anything we can do to get families back into Bailey Park, should be looked at.

“It’s popular for the wrong reasons, now. So anything we can do about that would be good for everyone.”

A spokesman for Monmouthshire County Council, said, “Bailey Park open air pool was run by Monmouth Borough Council. It was originally built in 1938 and used in the summer months only.

“The council took the decision to close the pool as costs always outweighed income due to the uncertainty of the great British weather. In addition, an indoor swimming pool at the town’s leisure centre opened in 1973.

“When the council decided to close the pool the town council attempted to run it, and then a group of volunteers assumed control but in the end no-one could make it work as a viable operation.

“We believe Monmouth Borough Council decided to close it in early 1980s (the council had inherited it from Abergavenny Borough Council in 1974) and the town council/volunteer effort lasted about five or six years. In the end the pool opened for four to five weeks over the school summer holiday period and by that time summer holiday play schemes were in operation, which included daily indoor swimming sessions in the leisure centre. This no doubt had an effect on the number of swimmers using the outdoor pool.

“ Re-opening the pool would involve an Herculean effort, as it is no longer there. The site was demolished in 2006 and filled in and is now a fully grassed level area of the park, so any proposal to run an open air swimming pool would involve the initial costs of construction.

“Abergavenny’s small resident population indicates that it would be difficult to write a viable business plan to underpin any proposal for large scale investment in a new pool, either in the park or in another location in the town.

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Kes · 27 days ago · Report

If not a pool maybe a splash park and neighbouring cafe?

kevin · 27 days ago · Report

The space would be better used by building a tea-room with toilets. That will have a much better chance of success and open, decent toilets are needed in the park. A timber framed cafe would not be that expensive to erect and a condition of operating the franchise would be to make the toilets open and kept clean during opening hours of the park.

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