We will fight for equality

Madam,

When will the leadership of Derbyshire Dales District Council acknowledge that it is selling Wirksworth short, undermining its services by underfunding them and start to put things right? Councillor Mike Ratcliffe rightly pointed out in his letter of February 24, that Ashbourne, Bakewell and Matlock, have been getting a far better funding than Wirksworth.

Consultants working on behalf of the district council have started exploratory discussions over the future of the Wirksworth Swimming Pool.

No other pool in the district is being singled out for this treatment. It is a popular and important community facility, generations of Wirksworth children have learned to swim there, and its very successful in 2009 it recorded 22,500 visits.

The swimming pool was paid for from donations from Wirksworth residents, and the reserves of the Wirksworth Urban District Council. And in fact Derbyshire Dales District Council had no part in the development of the pool, and were reluctant to take over the running of the pool, and have spent very little on the maintenance of the pool. It looks that the exploratory discussions could be a cover to close the pool.

It is said by the district council that Wirksworth pool is losing £16k per year. By contrast Bakewell swimming pool is losing 73k per year, Matlock Lido is losing 236k per year and the district council say its not possible to give account for Ashbourne Pool.

District council are at the same time supporting a parish council swimming pool which is only open for six months per year at the cost of 25k per year. It can never be fair to single out Wirksworth, which costs the least of any pool in the district.

It has been suggested that the reason that the leadership of the district council do not give the same support to Wirksworth, is that the people of the communities of Wirksworth, Middleton and Bolehill are so successful in starting and running community groups, and projects, that the district council feel that they can send money in the other towns of the district.

It’s true our communities are strong and proud, it’s in our history and our roots. But the district council would be naive in the extreme to prey on the good work and community spirit of the people of Wirksworth ward.

Wirksworth deserves fair treatment and investment in the community from district. On the retention of the swimming pool and on other issues I and my fellow Wirksworth ward members will fight for that equality every inch of the way and urge Wirksworth ward electors to join us an to make your views know to the district council

Councillor Peter Slack

Chapel Lane

Middleton-by-Wirksworth