By Tevye Markson, Local Democracy Reporter

CAMPAIGNERS are calling for Reading Borough Council (RBC) to work with them to deliver a sporting body’s advice to build a 50m pool in Reading.

A Swim England report, commissioned by RBC, said that not enough consideration has gone into the viability of a 50m pool.

It has recommended a leisure village concept, which it says would deliver operational savings and avoid overlap.

Campaign group RG50 and Reading Swimming Club members have previously called for a 50m pool to replace the closed Arthur Hill and Central Pool facilities.

Jeremy Muscroft, founder of the RG50 campaign and Reading Swimming Club member, said: “The Swim England report completely vindicates the RG50 campaign.

“What I am told is that it will be cheaper to maintain and operate a single 50m pool.

“We want the council to seriously review and investigate the report and pass it on to bidders to properly assess the viability of a 50m pool.”

Reading Borough Council wants to build two new 25-metre pools: a community pool in Palmer Park and a competition pool in Rivermead.

RG50 are looking to see if RBC would work with them to provide a 50m pool, if they made up any potential cost difference with the help of the community and local businesses.

He said: “We encourage Reading residents to sign the petition to demonstrate their desire for a state-of-the-art aquatic centre in reading.

“A 50m pool will be a fantastic advert to show Reading’s role as a forward-thinking town that is considerate about health and wellbeing. It will act as a magnet for the whole of Reading.”

He added that the proposed six-lane Palmer Park community pool would only serve a small part of Reading and would be very close to the new £14m Bulmershe swimming pool that Wokingham Borough Council is building.

He said: “Having pools so close does not make sense.”

Graeme Hoskin, lead councillor for health and wellbeing, said: “We have not ruled out a 50m pool but it is about affordability. The government’s cuts are leaving us in a very difficult financial position.

“We would love there to be a 50m pool but [two 25m pools] is what we can afford.”

Cllr Hoskin said the council are hamstrung by crippling budgets and boundaries which mean it only gets council tax from around 160,000 people while its services provide for a much wider area.

He said: “If cuts were reversed we would be in a stronger position to be more ambitious about what we provide.”

80% of readers supported a 50m pool in a poll by the Reading Chronicle in March.