Fylde Council’s Executive Committee has considered and accepted recommendations from the Community Focus Scrutiny Committee on swimming provision in Fylde. 

These recommendations are to ensure sustainability and value for money are key elements of any such provision in the future, and to provide guidance for local community groups who may wish to submit a business plan to acquire and operate the Kirkham Pool. 

The Scrutiny Committee previously met to discuss a report – available on the Fylde Council website here – which presented numerous items of relevance to swimming provision. These included the Disposal Plan agreed with YMCA Fylde Coast for Kirkham Pool, the outputs of the council-commissioned Active Lancashire consultation with key local stakeholders and swimming providers, and the feasibility and cost of making the existing Kirkham Pool fit for purpose or building a new fit for purpose swimming pool on another site. 

The report contained work from consultants appointed in January 2024 to present feasibility and costing studies on four potential design concepts, ranging from the minimum requirement to recommission existing facilities at Kirkham Pool through to a new pool being constructed on a notional site to be determined. The purpose of these studies was to provide any parties considering the submission of an Expression of Interest a broad idea of the scope and costs that would be involved and provide a basis for their future Business Plan. 

The report also set out potential workstreams over the next few months to secure swimming, in accordance with the resolution of Council dated 5th December 2023 which confirmed this as a priority. A dedicated Swimming in Fylde webpage has already been produced to set out what Fylde Council is doing in exploring all practicable options to support swimming provision in Fylde. 

Having discussed the report, the recommendations presented to the Exec Committee are to incorporate sustainability and value for money as key elements of any future consideration of swimming provision. 

Further, the Scrutiny Committee recommended that the Exec Committee consider introducing guidance for voluntary and community groups in relation to the submission of business plans and appoint a group (made up of key lead members and officers) to oversee the process of evaluating any business plans submitted. 

Cllr Jayne Nixon, Lead Member for Tourism, Leisure and Culture, said: “The Executive Committee welcomed and unanimously endorsed the recommendations from Scrutiny last night.  There is clearly a shared appetite amongst councillors and members of the public to see swimming provision return to rural Fylde as demonstrated in the results of the Active Lancashire consultation exercise. 

“I would urge any interested groups to check the wealth of information available on the council’s webpage and submit an expression of interest.  We will be providing guidance on the next step regarding the submission of business plans.” 

The YMCA Kirkham Rural Splash facility closed permanently in August 2023 due to significant structural damage caused by Storm Arwen in December 2021. Efforts to repair the damage and reopen the facility were hindered by the high costs involved, which would include replacing the damaged roof and addressing issues caused by aging infrastructure. 

In accordance with the 2009 agreement under which YMCA Fylde Coast obtained the freehold ownership of the facility and continued to operate it, YMCA Fylde Coast submitted for the consideration of Fylde Council a Disposal Plan. This plan set out proposals for the future of the asset and how these would be achieved, whether through transfer to an interested party or sale on the open market.  

Following discussion, Fylde Council and YMCA Fylde Coast agreed the details of the Disposal Plan in March 2024. The agreed plan allows community groups to submit an Expression of Interest in taking on the facility and allows time to develop a business plan for its operation. The Expressions of Interest stage opened in early April 2024 and will run until Friday 24 May 2024. 

If you represent a community group who may wish to consider acquiring and operating Kirkham Pool, or if you simply wish to know more about the process and what Fylde Council are doing to safeguard swimming provision in the borough, visit the dedicated Swimming in Fylde webpage on the Fylde Council website. 


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