A GROUP of naturists have been exposed to council cuts following the controversial decision to shut down Arthur Hill swimming pool.

Reading Naturists Group hire out the pool on a weekly basis for a nude swimming session, and members were left devastated following the announcement that the pool will soon be stripped down.

Council bosses offered the group an alternative session at Meadway Pool, however a change of day would mean fewer members would be able to attend.

Group treasurer Mark Young bemoaned the decision to close the pool, adding the club is likely to disband as a result.

"We were offered a venue at Meadway Leisure Centre but they offered it to us on a Friday night and we can't get enough people to turn up," said Mr Young, 54.

"We have been going to that pool for more than 30 years now. We need a certain type of pool and at Arthur Hill we get privacy."

Mr Young, from Reading, said he has been involved with the group for more than 10 years, and said the swimming sessions are the only naturist activity held in Reading.

He found the club after researching online and immediately took interest.

"We have around 40 members," he continued.

"We get a regular swim of about 15 people or so which covers the cost to hire out the pool.

"We have a mixture of people, it tends to be older people but it is a friendly social group."

The group held a crisis meeting on Thursday last week, where they decided the group would need to be shut down if Reading Borough Council could not provide them with a viable alternative.

Mr Young added: "It's exercise, the council is supposed to be promoting exercise but that doesn't seem to be happening now.

"The club is likely to close down."

A council spokesman added: “The Council has offered the group an alternative pool for their sessions. At this stage the offer has not been accepted, but we will continue to work with the group to find options which may work for them.

“We of course regret the effect of the closure on local swimming groups like this one, but the reality is unprecedented cuts in Government funding mean we can no longer afford to invest in ageing facilities with a limited lifespan.

" In terms of value for money, we believe working with a partner to build a modern new community pool at nearby Palmer Park and  linked to existing leisure facilities is the better option.”