Save West Denton Pool from Closure!
Dear Mr Sesnan,
We the undersigned are writing as residents and elected representatives of the outer west of Newcastle concerning the devastating news that the swimming pool at West Denton Leisure Centre will not be reopening in the foreseeable future and may close permanently.
It is clear the community is distraught at the thought of losing its local pool. That so many members of the public have been able to access these facilities over the years has been of enormous benefit to the health and wellbeing of people in Denton and the Outer West of Newcastle. We know from Swim UK’s research that being active in the water helps people’s physical and mental health, improves community cohesion, and reduces pressure on the NHS.
We are therefore deeply concerned that the closure of the pool, combined with the wider impact of the pandemic on physical activity, will have a negative effect on health outcomes in the community. According to the 2019 Indices of Deprivation, most of the Denton and Westerhope ward is already in the most deprived 10% of neighbourhoods in the country in terms of health deprivation and disability, so we feel it is particularly important that the community continues to have access to local exercise and leisure facilities.
Many of our swimming pools, sports clubs and leisure centres across Newcastle have struggled in the last decade of austerity, and now face enormous challenges due to months of closure and the need to operate at reduced capacity. Although some support has been available through the Job Retention Scheme, we know you have had very little other financial support, as the Government has refused to provide the funding package that the #SaveLeisure campaign, Swim England and others argue is necessary to put the sector on a stable footing and prevent closures.
We understand the pool was financially viable prior to the pandemic and we would urge you to rule out its permanent closure and work with us and other local stakeholders to explore options for a long-term solution. We will also be calling on the Government to step up its support, so it would be useful to know what support would be needed to ensure the pool’s long-term viability.
We will continue to do all we can to ensure high-quality sport and physical activity facilities are locally accessible and available to everyone, no matter what their background or where they live.
Catherine McKinnell MP (Newcastle upon Tyne North)
Cllr Simon Barnes (Denton and Westerhope)
Cllr David Cook (Lemington)
Cllr Melissa Davis (Denton and Westerhope)
Cllr Steve Fairlie (Callerton and Throckley)
Cllr Brian Hunter (Denton and Westerhope)
Cllr George Pattison (Kingston Park South and Newbiggin Hall)
Cllr Sharon Pattison (Kingston Park South and Newbiggin Hall)
Cllr Jacqui Robinson (Kingston Park South and Newbiggin Hall)
Cllr Kyle Webster (Lemington)
Cllr Linda Wright (Callerton and Throckley)