Businesses and local residents met at a public consultation session last night, future swimming provision in Shrewsbury, where Shrewsbury BID voiced feedback from its 500 members on the proposed changes for the town centre site.

The event at the Prince Rupert Hotel was organised by the Quarry Swimming and Fitness Forum, and chaired by BBC Radio Shropshire’s, Eric Smith. Following a welcome by Chair of the Forum, Bernard Wills, attendees heard from George Candler, Director of Commissioning at Shropshire Council, Chris Archibald from the Forum and Carol Bailey, Wolverhampton Central Baths.

At the event, John Hall, Deputy Chair of Shrewsbury Business Improvement District (BID) and owner of Write Here! on High Street shared businesses’ perspective on the economic, access and environmental impact of retaining the swimming pool within the town centre.

Shrewsbury BID manager, Kirsten Henly, said: “We were pleased to be able to share the viewpoint held by many of our members and their employees and be the voice for the business community on this key issue. We think that the Council’s consultation document regarding the future location of the swimming pool has not asked the appropriate questions and we welcome a full interrogation of the options, starting with a view on whether swimming and leisure provision is best placed in the town centre.

“The Consultation document does not indicate any vision for the future or a plan B for the site, which is critical to the debate about where best to locate community services for Shrewsbury. The swimming pool adds considerable economic value to the town centre and it is vital that we retain these communal, social and leisure facilities. We strongly feel that decision makers have an opportunity to take a longer term view of the essential ingredients for a thriving town and it’s vital that a modern swimming and leisure provision forms part of that offer.

Bernard Wills, Chair of the Forum added: “We are very happy with the turn out tonight. The attendance and opinion shared showed great support from businesses and residents who want to retain the facilities in the town centre.”

Shrewsbury BID has welcomed the extension to the consultation. No decision is expected on the preferred option before February 2016. Shrewsbury BID is encouraging people to join the debate and help keep the Swimming Pool in the town centre.