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Splasing new sauna; Campaigners win fight to keep spa facilities at pool.

Byline: AMY HUNT

A SWIMMING pool has closed for a pounds 600,000 revamp.

Gosforth Pool, in Newcastle, will be given a facelift and have its ventilation and electrics replaced in a six-month job.

The 50-year-old pool was due a refurbishment worth pounds 1.3m, but was victim to a cut of pounds 750,000 of cash which was due to come from Sport England.

Pool-users mounted a campaign when it emerged council bosses planned to do away with a sauna at the leisure centre because of cost pressures.

And after city chiefs heard their concerns they stumped up an extra pounds 150,000 to add to the existing pounds 450,000 budget.

Plans now include replacing the sauna, steam room and rest area.

Jim Philipson, who was part of the campaign to save the sauna, said: "I think the council was quite surprised with the number of people who were against it."

The pool closed on Monday and is due to remain shut until Easter next year. Anthony McKenna, Newcastle City Council's head of leisure services, said: "Gosforth Pool is currently closed for a much needed refurbishment and is expected to re-open by Easter 2011.

"The Impulse Fitness Suite remains open as usual during this work.

"The overall scheme is smaller than we would have liked to have achieved due to the withdrawal of funding from Sport England.

"However, following public meetings with the community and users of the pool we have developed a new solution which everyone appears very happy with.

"This includes the provision of a new sauna."

Work will be carried out to replace the pool's air handling system, which ventilates the building and prevents a buildup of dangerous gases.

There will also be work on the electrical systems.

The gym at the leisure centre will remain open while work is carried out, but the pool and sauna will be closed until next year.

CAPTION(S):

BATTLE Gosforth residents Jim Philipson and Marlene Wood, who campaigned to keep the sauna open at Gosforth Swimming Pool
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUE
Date:Nov 4, 2010
Words:339
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