A swimming pool is finally set to be built in Porthcawl – 40 years after the … – WalesOnline

A swimming pool is finally set to be built in Porthcawl – 40 years after the idea was first proposed.

The 15-metre pool has been included in plans for the flagship £6m Maritime Centre at Cosy Corner after the directors of the community-led project said it came top of the residents’ wish list.

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A detailed planning application for the five-storey, multi-use all-weather seafront facility is now due to be lodged with Bridgend County Borough Council before Christmas.

The volunteer directors of the Porthcawl Harbourside Community Interest Company (CIC), who are behind the Big Lottery-backed Maritime Centre plans, have said that although it is a modest size, the pool will meet many of people’s requirements, including parent and toddler sessions and availability for patients who have been prescribed exercise.

Computer-generated images of the new centre

“Our ambition is to create an innovative, inspirational, inclusive and economically sustainable multi-use destination,” said chairman of Porthcawl Harbourside CIC, Michael Clarke.

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“It is a flagship venue that creates a dynamic, stimulating environment where coastal science, pioneering community engagement and maritime history combine in an all-weather, year-round destination for residents and visitors bringing educational, cultural, water sports business, employment and health and wellbeing benefits to the area.”

The scheme also includes a boat rack with storage for 36 vessels

The project recently received a £50,000 boost from the Big Lottery Fund’s Community Asset Transfer 2 Programme, which supports the transfer of land, buildings and other assets into community ownership.

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The project has now been invited to develop a stage two application to the CAT2 programme.

CIC founder director Stuart Bentley said they have faced challenges in balancing aspiration and sustainability.

“Firstly, we wanted a high-quality development to kick start regeneration in Porthcawl to support local businesses, secondly to add an attractor leisure-led facility, which moved the mind-set from purely residential led developments and thirdly we wanted to match the dreams and ambitions of our community – young and not so young.

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“It is also vitally important to meet the needs and requirements of the Local Authority Destination Plan and regeneration Plans for Porthcawl.

“I am delighted to have been able to include a swimming pool in the present proposals which will benefit all areas of the community and which is of a scale and design that is economically viable and sustainable.”

Project lead Mark Bryant said the “huge support” from the Big Lottery “has contributed to the vibrancy and urgency to bring the project to fruition”.

“Following our project development meeting with the Big Lottery team last week, we now have clear and challenging milestones and deadlines to meet,” he said.

“The impetus is great and the multi-skilled team put together the by Big Lottery CAT team is very professional. Partners and operators have been agreed for virtually all aspects of the development so I am comfortable with sustainability in the future.”

Residents of Porthcawl do have some access to pools in Porthcawl Comprehensive and at Trecco Bay, but have always desired a public pool of their own.

About 40 years ago, residents were invited to pay a shilling a week into a community facilities fund that would be used to build a swimming pool.

Years later, the project almost came to fruition, but the plug was pulled when councils across the country stopped building expensive leisure centres and pools.

The swimming pool fund, which had risen to £37,000, was held until it became clear no pool would be built and it was donated to the Boys’ and Girls’ Club in Lock’s Lane as a contribution to their new building.

Porthcawl Harbourside CIC are planning to display their detailed plans at a public exhibition in early January.

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