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The frustration of Great Harwood’s swimming pool as sites were banned following Mercer Hall’s closure

Senior councilors have ruled out three alternative sites for a swimming pool in Great Harwood following the proposed closure of the existing one at Mercer Hall.

Hyndburn Borough Council cabinet on Thursday night confirmed a consultant’s report that none of them were suitable for a new city leisure centre.

The sites considered were Windsor Road Recreation Ground next to Tesco in central Great Harwood, land on Alan Ramsbottom Way and the former Balfour Street gas storage site, both on the outskirts of the parish. The review followed protests from residents that Mercer Hall should be closed as a leisure center and the pool moved to a new multi-million pound sports and fitness complex at Wilson’s Playing Field in Clayton-le-Moors.

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The Cabinet confirmed the report’s conclusions that “none of the three sites present a viable alternative to the development proposed for Wilson Playing Fields and therefore the Council should further develop its proposals for Wilson Playing Field”. Cllr Munsif Dad, Head of Borough Labor Group, and Cllr Noordad Aziz from Netherton Parish attended the meeting to call for the reversal of the decision to rob a swimming pool in Great Harwood.

Council President Cllr Miles Parkinson said: “I think there is general acceptance that Mercer Hall can no longer continue as a leisure centre. Unfortunately, size, design, age, high maintenance costs and financial challenges mean that this cannot be the place where we can hope to address the issues aimed at attracting more people to active business in the future.

“What we need is a positive commitment to how we can use this building effectively in the future. A number of people from Great Harwood have suggested, while accepting that Mercer Hall can no longer continue in its current form, would still like to see some recreational activity in the town, and they have suggested three potential sites.

“The City Council was asked to commission work that examined these sites in comparison to the proposal to develop at Wilson’s Playing Fields. That work is done. Each of the sites has significant constraints on its development as a new leisure center site and the consultant felt that none of the proposed sites would be a viable prospect. Also, neither location will attract the outside funding that Wilsons is likely to secure.”

Cllr Dad said: “We agree that there cannot be a pool at Mercer Hall, but we would like the Council to constructively explore alternative locations for one in Great Harwood.”


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