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Castle Hill School texts parents to ask them to shun Moor Lane Swimming Pool campaign
Parents have been asked by a school not to sign a petition to keep open its swimming pool.
Hirers of the Chessington pool on the site of the former Moor Lane Primary School have been gathering names to save it.
They have even suggested a four-year business plan to refurbish the 45-year-old pool as a new trust with all profits going back into its running.
Governors, chaired by Mrs Jennie Walters, were due to hold a meeting on Wednesday.
But Castle Hill School, which owns the site, has sent text messages to parents asking them not to sign.
The message said: "We understand that a leaflet has gone to parents today outside the school regarding the closure of the pool at Moor Lane.
"As you know the governors have decided that the cost of refurbishing the pool would be far too expensive.
"We would appreciate your support by not signing the petition".
Splish and Splash swimming school hirer Andy Down said: “It seems the decision has already been made and the rest is an exercise in going through the motions. I hope I am wrong.”
Hirers of the pool also include Ellingham School and Lady Immaculate School.
They have all been unable to get a meeting with the school or its governors despite numerous attempts to do so, according to hirer Ann Gordon who has has been teaching at the pool for more than 30 years.
Mrs Gordon, a former Great Britain synchronised swimming European champion, said: “They are just not interested. They are not giving us the opportunity to try and take it over. They are not letting us know what’s going on.
“If we could just get a meeting together we could put our points across and say we are interested. The school does not want to keep it running.
"We would be happy to fundraise for them through grants and sponsored events. It is frustrating. ”
Mrs Gordon said the hirers were willing to come up with a four-year business plan to refurbish the pool and even suggested turning it into a trust with its own governing body with all profits going back into its running.
The pool which was due to close at Christmas has already been closed for a number of weeks as its broken boiler has not been fixed.
Moor Lane pool came under threat over the summer when Castle Hill School said it could no longer afford to pay its running costs or the £200,000 capital investment it said was needed.
The school did not respond to the idea of a pool trust, but said in a statement, issued on its behalf by Kingston Council: "On Friday 19 October, several parents approached the school regarding leaflets that were being handed out outside the school asking them to sign a petition to keep the Moor Lane Swimming Pool open.
"Some parents assumed that because leaflets were being handed to parents outside of the school building that the petition was being run by the school.
"In response to this we sent a group text to parents confirming that this petition has nothing to do with the school and advising them not to sign it until we had chance to provide further information by letter.
"A letter sent to parents on Monday 22 October re-states the school's position on the matter, reminding them of the alternative arrangements with Hook Swim School at St Paul’s Primary.
"This move has proved very popular with all the children, who had previously told us that they did not enjoy swimming at the Moor Lane site.
"The letter also reminds parents of the recent survey, which indicated that the school would need to find £305,000 to bring the pool up to a reasonable condition.
"Whilst we appreciate that the pool was once a community resource, Castle Hill Primary is not in a financial position to subsidise it any longer, nor do we believe it correct to spend such a large sum of money on any single resource when there are so many other things we need to provide for our pupils.
"We feel that the information in the letter will help parents to make an informed decision on whether or not to sign the petition and would hope that they support us in our view. However, we of course recognise that parents are free to sign the petition if they wish."