Partners aim to reopen Rye Pool

Residents in Rye could see their local swimming pool reopened in the new year if efforts to persuade government to support the leisure industry in the face of massive increases in energy costs, along with a new partnership initiative, are successful.

Earlier this month, pool operator, Freedom Leisure, announced that it would have to close the pool over the winter period due to spiralling energy costs.

However, following a meeting on Friday, October 28, between Rye Town Council, Rother District Council and Freedom Leisure, it was agreed that all parties needed to continue to lobby central government for support and to work together with the aim of reopening the pool in the new year.

Acknowledging the need for government support, the partners also agreed to look at various ways of addressing the issue, including:

  • how energy use could be reduced across all the Freedom Leisure sites.
  • how investing in energy saving measures – such as potential use of solar energy at the Rye site.
  • how membership and visitor usage could be increased, all with the view to making the operation of the centre more sustainable in the future.

As a first step, the partners have already begun discussions with the owners of the pool – East Sussex County Council – to explore potential for placing solar panels on the roof.

In the meantime, the sports centre remains open to members and visitors to enjoy all other sports activities apart from swimming.

The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Rye, Councillor Andrew Rivett said; “The closure of our pool is a devastating blow for those dependent on it to maintain or manage their physical health and well-being – and let’s not forget that having a safe environment in which to learn to swim can mean the difference between life or death. The Town Council is committed to working with all stakeholders to re-open our treasured pool at the earliest opportunity. It is too important to lose and we must not let down all those who worked so hard to provide us with a fully-accessible, public pool.”

Councillor Hazel Timpe, Rother’s portfolio holder for Leisure said: “No one wants Rye swimming pool to close and so I am delighted that we are working with the Town Council and Freedom Leisure to hopefully reopen the pool as early in the new year as is possible.

“In the meantime, we will continue to lobby national government to give further support to local businesses – who are trying to cope with massive energy increases – and to local government which is also under huge financial pressure.”

Ivan Horsfall Turner, CEO of Freedom Leisure said: “We are devastated it has come to this and we will do everything we can to try and reverse the decision however, we are all clear, and it was further evidenced in Sally-Ann Hart MP’s recent BBC television interview, that without central government support and public sector leisure being included as a vulnerable business in the January review, an earlier reopening is unlikely.”

Ends.

Published: 3rd November 2022