YMCA Kirkham Rural Splash Set to Permanently Close
YMCA Kirkham Rural Splash is set to permanently close. The facility suffered significant structural damage caused by Storm Arwen in December 2021 and has not been operational since. The pool had been threatened with closure as long ago as 2009 but an agreement between Fylde Borough Council and YMCA allowed the facility to remain open. Ever since the storm, YMCA have been working with partners to try and plot a way forward for the service. However, whilst plans had been drawn up to replace the damaged section of roof, the cost of additional works mean that reinstating the facility is not now financially viable. Graham Oatridge, CEO of YMCA Fylde Coast said ‘We are hugely disappointed not to be able to go ahead with re-opening the baths as was originally planned. We have been working with architects and engineers to create a scheme of works to reinstate the facility. Unfortunately, the ageing plant and building systems mean that additional investment of hundreds of thousands of pounds are required and, as a charity, YMCA simply does not have the funds to make that investment. The revenue costs of running swimming pools have risen exponentially on the back of the energy crisis and despite the willingness of YMCA and its partners to see the building re-open that is just not possible. We know this news will be incredibly disappointing for everyone that loved the facility. However, conversations have already started and YMCA will be working with Fylde Council, Kirkham Town Council and other willing stakeholders to explore all options for bringing a modern, fit for purpose leisure facility for Kirkham and rural Fylde.’ Many of the swimming lessons run from YMCA Kirkham have been relocated to other local pools whilst members have also been able to make use of other YMCA facilities in in Lytham, St Annes and Poulton. Schools using the facility have all be offered alternative swimming lesson availability at other YMCA sites. YMCA members with any enquiries should contact firstname.lastname@example.org For more information about YMCA Fylde Coast and its facilities across the borough, visit www.ymcayactive.org
Councillor Karen Buckley, Leader of Fylde Council said:
“We regret the YMCA's decision to close and are disappointed that this will remove the provision of public swimming in and around Kirkham. We also appreciate how difficult it must have been to make this decision by the YMCA who own and operate the facility. Nevertheless, the closure will be a real blow for residents of Kirkham and the surrounding villages.”
“We understand there is a demand for a public facility to cater for rural Fylde residents and have heard directly from schools that are struggling to justify the time out of the classroom to transport children further away to pools in St Annes, Garstang or Poulton to fulfil the requirements for teaching children to swim.”
Cllr Jayne Nixon, Lead Member of Tourism, Leisure and Culture further stated: "The closure of the YMCA Kirkham facility is undeniably a significant setback for our community, especially for families and children who cherished having a convenient local swimming pool in Kirkham. The YMCA have explored and exhausted all opportunities to reopen the site, however the cost of the immediate and futureproof reparative works makes the site economically unviable.”
“Looking ahead, our determination to address this issue remains resolute. While acknowledging the challenges, we are fully invested in collaborating with the YMCA and Kirkham Town Council and, we will pursue all available funding to seek to return swimming provision to the Kirkham area.”
Release by the Mayor of Kirkham Town Council, Councillor Chris Hopkinson
The news today that Kirkham baths will be permanently closing is hugely disappointing and will be a great loss to the Town. I know it holds fond memories for many people who have grown up with this facility and for the schools who have used it only a regular basis. The Council fully understands the economic pressures on the YMCA and appreciates that over the last two years, they have exhausted every avenue in their efforts to try and retain this facility.
Kirkham Town Council have recently met with the YMCA and Fylde Borough Council and were very pleased to hear that there is a continuing commitment to explore how and where a new facility could be located, as a replacement for Kirkham baths. All parties recognise the importance to peoples physical and mental health having such a facility supports and over the coming months will be working closely together to identify a permanent solution.