Rising energy costs could close Buckfastleigh swimming pool after 130 years

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A swimming pool in Devon could be forced to close after 130 years because of rising energy costs.

The trustees of the Buckfastleigh Open Air Pool say their bills have tripled from £9,000 per year to nearly £30,000. They are warning they will have no option but to close next year without extra funding.

The water is heated and filtered every four hours, but there are also other rising costs connected to the chlorine, national insurance contributions and wages. After coping with the cost of closures during the pandemic, supporters had hoped for a brighter financial future

The pool originally opened in 1887 - Queen Victoria's golden jubilee. It nearly closed in 2014 but was saved by the community, who secured £400,000 in grants to refurbish the pool and the neighbouring park. 

Lifeguard Sam Webber says it would be "a tragedy" if the pool closed:

"Even in the last seven years the pool's worked so hard to stay open. So much hard work and effort's gone in and so many kids have got so much from it."

Campaigners are hoping the residents and town council will support a small rise in the local council tax to help ensure its survival, but say they are aware that everyone is facing rising costs.

Chair of Trustees Pam Barrett says "it is absolutely a crucial point."

"We're okay financially this year, but as it stands from September unless something dramatic happens we're not in a position to be able to say we'll open next year at all."