A lot of my time seems to be spent trying to keep things open, whether Post Offices, Primary Schools, Pubs or Harlech Pool. It often strikes me as odd that as we advance more as a society and, in general, become more prosperous over the years (admittedly that is not a universal pattern for everybody nor is it a relentless, remorseless process, is often punctuated by the odd hiccup or, as now, a massive spasm) institutions and facilities are closed down.
I visited Harlech this weekend and met the magnificent campaigners who have been fighting to retain the swimming pool in Harlech. Without this pool school children, pensioners and many people in between who use the pool on a frequent basis in the community, will have to travel to Porthmadog to use the pool there. Many, of course, will simply not do so. Doing so is also, of course, contrary to the government’s agenda, which I certainly support, of encouraging people to use their car less frequently and to make use of local facilities.
The campaigners for Harlech Pool, extremely well led by Richard Holland, have put together a business case, a very good business case for taking over the pool. They have presented this case to Gwynedd County Council but the County Council is prevaricating. There is a feeling in the community that perhaps the business case was far better than Gwynedd anticipated and they are now looking around for reasons not to trust local people to run the pool and reasons for not transferring the assets to them. The date at which the County Council is due to look at the business plan is only three days before the pool is due to close. This is preposterous. What is now needed is a stay of execution for the pool until the autumn while the business plan is considered, if necessary adapted, and then adopted. The summer is after all, in any event, a busy period for the pool.
Let’s see a degree of common sense from Gwynedd County Council and a trust of local people to get on with managing something for their own community.