SpArC cuts spark campaign

Nearly forty people have put their name to a petition protesting at the cuts to swimming sessions at Bishop’s Castle SpArC, and last night the Town Council voted to ask Teme Leisure to explain why Bishop’s Castle has been targeted for the biggest cuts to its sports facilities.

The new swimming timetable, introduced on August 1st, means the pool is closed until 4pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  On Fridays it is open from 7am to 10am only,  and then remains closed all day Saturday during term time and all weekend during the school holidays. The women-only session has been scrapped, and there is now only one session for over-50s instead of two.

Judith Payne: “Demand for sports facilities seems likely to increase after the Olympics”

The petition was started by Judith Payne, 73, who has also written to Teme Leisure’s general manager Lee Hassan, Shropshire Council,  Ludlow MP Philip Dunne and Bishop’s Castle’s Shropshire Councillor Charlotte Barnes.

She said she didn’t mean to lead a public campaign, but has found herself speaking for older swimmers “who swim regularly for health reasons as well as enjoyment”. She urges anyone else who wants to protest about the cuts to write their own emails to the people who could have an influence. (Email addresses here)

“In term time, two over-50s sessions weekly during the day have been replaced by one at 9am on Tuesdays. This is not a good time for older people to leave home on winter mornings, and neither are the adult sessions from 7 to 9pm.”

She added that after this year’s Olympic Games “it seems likely and desirable that there will be more, not less, demand for sports facilities”.

Jock Wright raised the subject of the SpArC swimming pool at last night’s meeting of Bishop’s Castle Town Council. He said Bishop’s Castle had born more than its fair share of the cuts, and called on Teme Leisure to rethink its programme. He added that there wasn’t enough publicity for the swimming pool and its opening hours, so many visitiors to the town who might like to swim don’t know the pool exists.

Shropshire councillor Charlotte Barnes said she had been in talks with the Community College, who share ownership of SpArC with Shropshire, about how the offer could be improved.

The council voted to ask a representative of Teme Leisure to attend Bishop’s Castle town council to answer questions about the service cuts.

Email addresses

Lee Hassan, general manager, Teme Leisure

Alan Penton, Leisure Development Manager, Shropshire Council

Philip Dunne, Member of Parliament for Ludlow (includes Bishop’s Castle)

Charlotte Barnes, Shropshire Council member for Bishop’s Castle


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  3 comments for “SpArC cuts spark campaign

  1. Evelyn Bowles
    August 15, 2012 at 15:52

    Hi I’ve had an email sent to Alan Penton returned. Checking his address I think your link might be wrong. I think it should be The first . was missing.


    • August 15, 2012 at 16:40

      Thanks Evelyn, sorry for the error. I think you’re right – I’ve updated Alan Penton’s address.

  2. Evelyn Bowles
    August 15, 2012 at 14:59

    Thanks for covering this and supplying the email addresses for furthering the campaign to persuade Teme Leisure to rethink the timetable for the swimming pool at SpArC.
    Besides the need for older people to have sufficient access at reasonable times to this facility to maintain their health, swimming is a very useful means for people of all ages to recover from injury or surgery through non-weight bearing exercise.
    It has also been mentioned to me that a professional fitness trainer who would like to use the pool for classes, for which they and their clients would pay, has been turned away by Teme Leisure. Surely, this type of use of the facility, which would benefit some local residents and a small local business directly, would also be a means of supporting the overall costs of running the pool – helping to subsidise general public access.

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