‘Unsafe’ roof forces closure of popular Ore pool

Sandown School's swimming pool
Sandown School's swimming pool

A school’s popular swimming pool has had to close suddenly, leaving hundreds of children without a place to swim.

Sandown Primary School’s facility was shut due to a major fault with the roof structure.

The dilapidated changing rooms

The dilapidated changing rooms

The pool at the school on The Ridge in Ore is used by pupils, several other schools and swimming groups in town.

Sandown’s Parents and Teachers Association (PTA), as well as many others, have been battling for years to keep the facility open through fundraising.

The pool itself opened in the late 1960s.

Debbie Ramsey, who sits on the school’s PTA, said: “I and many other people have been campaigning to keep Sandown Primary School’s swimming pool open for some years now.

“The parents, carers and local community have raised thousands to refurbish the changing rooms, which are in a dilapidated state.

“All parents and carers have received a letter from head teacher Charlie Lindsay saying structural engineers have advised that there is a major fault with the roof structure and the pool will have to close for the time being. Is this the beginning of the end for Sandown’s pool?

“Mr Lindsay has had very productive talks with The Big Local and Sports England this year and both were considering funding the repairs.

“They asked for a feasibility study to be done before they could commit any funds. I believe Mr Lindsay is in the process of getting this done, but it is very costly.

“Sandown’s PTA has offered to pay half the cost and I believe The Big Local has offered to pay the other half of the feasibility study. Hopefully that can be done soon.

“This is a big deal in the Ore area, as not only Sandown pupils use the swimming pool but children from other schools.

“Active Hastings use it and Water Creatures swimming school use it too.

“There are many other groups that benefit from Sandown having a swimming pool. Literally thousands of children and adults use it each year.

“If Sandown’s pool were to close for good it would be devastating for the local community.”

She said the pool is expected to still be closed beyond the start of the new year.

Mrs Ramsey added recent fundraising efforts had netted around £30,000, thanks to donations.

Some refurbishment has taken place but the sudden closure comes as a blow.

Mrs Ramsey said: “We have around £20,000 in the bank at present which we were told was enough to convince potential investors that we want to keep the pool open. We need outside investment as the pool needs one big fix.”

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