CAMPAIGNERS will plead for the council not to sell the former Arthur Hill Swimming Pool site before a closed session to decide its future.

The King's Road facility was permanently closed down in October 2016 after Reading Borough Council claimed it had become too expensive to run.

Members of Arthur Hill Save Our Swimming (SOS) were left devastated and launched a fundraising drive to keep the pool in the hands of the community.

Arthur Hill SOS handed over more than £11,000 in October after the council rejected a bid from the group.

The council's policy committee will hold a closed session on Monday to decide whether to sell the site to a private developer or accept a bid from the voluntary sector.

Campaigner Peter Burt said: “The decision to close the pool eighteen months ago was wholly unnecessary and the council has only the vaguest notions of what to do to replace the swimming provision that has been lost.

"It is a disgrace that councillors are not even prepared to debate the pool's future in public.”

Plans have previously been discussed to use the land for a housing development, although the historic facade would need to be retained.

The land was placed on the market in January and it is thought a number of bids have been received.

The 105-year-old pool required £700,000 to bring it up to scratch and closing the centre is saving the council around £120,000 a year.

Mr Burt, one of 1,300 residents to put his name to a petition against the closure, added: “Arthur Hill Pool was donated by the Hill family for the use and benefit of the people of Reading and not for local council bureaucrats to sell off just because they want to make a quick buck.

“It has provided huge enjoyment to the East Reading community for over 100 years and there is absolutely no reason why it should not continue to do so for a few more years yet.”

Outraged members of Arthur Hill SOS will assemble outside the Civic Offices before the meeting on Monday.

A spokesman for Reading Borough Council added: "As is normal with any item containing commercially confidential information, this will be held in private. Depending on the private discussions there may be a public announcement by the Chair in the open session.

"The council took the decision to close Arthur Hill pool in 2016, which was being subsidised by more than £100,000 a year. The council is instead choosing to invest in modern new sports facilities which residents will be able to use for many years to come.

"This includes proposals for two new purpose-built swimming pools for Reading. The procurement process will see a new leisure operator being selected in June 2019.

"Current estimates would see the pools hopefully opening to the public in 2021, subject to the development of detailed plans in the later stage of the procurement process."