COUNCILLORS have put the former Arthur Hill Pool site on the open market in an effort to maximise the value of the land.

Campaigners from Arthur Hill Save Our Swimming (SOS) Pool CIC were left devastated in October 2016 when the expensive centre was closed by Reading Borough Council.

The group handed over a cheque for £11,351 to support local schools instead of using the money to sway the council to hand over the running of the centre after a community bid was rejected in April 2017.

The money was raised through a crowdfunding appeal and was intended to allow the community interest company to take over the site from the council.

Reading Borough Council claimed the centre had become too expensive to run and revealed plans to sell the land for new housing developments.

Central Pool has also closed and the council hopes to fill the void with a demountable pop-up pool at Rivermead Leisure Centre.

Reading Chronicle:

Councillor Sarah Hacker, lead member for Leisure, said: "The marketing of the Arthur Hill Pool site commenced on January 22.

"This will allow eight weeks for any voluntary sector organisations to submit bids should they wish as per our community lettings policy.

"The criteria for assessing bids for the site are varied but linked to ensuring that the council secures best value including taking account of any community benefit, as well as the monetary value and factors, such as the robustness of proposals and deliverability."

Any developer would have to keep the historic frontage of the building and it is thought the site could be suitable for as many as 10 flats.

The council argued it could not sustain maintenance on Arthur Hill, which required £700,000 to bring it up to scratch. Closing the pool was thought to save around £120,000 a year.

A proposal put forward last year - to reopen Arthur Hill Pool and provide short-term relief until a permanent replacement at Palmer Park is introduced in 2020 - was met with criticism by council chiefs, who questioned the financial sustainability of the venture.

Peter Burt was among the 1,300 residents to put their name to a petition against the proposed closure.