Southern Tynwald members are calling for the new Castle Rushen High School and new southern community pool to be combined into one project.

MHKs Tim Glover, Michelle Haywood, Jason Moorhouse and Juan Watterson and MLCs Diane Kelsey and Rob Mercer have said they ‘stand united’ in supporting a publicly-owned southern community pool.

It follows financial problems for the pool in Castletown as its board said that due to closures caused by the pandemic, it’s facing financial difficulty in covering maintenance costs.

The government said it would underwrite the regional pools for the next year while a review of the island’s swimming pools, including the NSC, is undertaken.

Having written to the education and Treasury ministers setting this out to be a ‘top community issue’, southern Tynwald members have said budgets without adequate provision for this scheme won’t be supported.

They are also ‘fighting hard’ for the ‘much-needed’ CRHS to gain financial approval which will see plans drawn up and construction started.

In a statement, they said: ‘Since the General Election last September, we have been in regular contact with the current pool board and were very concerned when there was an imminent danger of closing its doors at the end of last year.

‘Funding was secured from government to avoid this situation.

‘[We] became aware that the Department of Infrastructure were going to withdraw the Southern Swimming Pool Board (Amendment) Order on the morning of the March sitting of Tynwald.

‘This was designed to increase funding for the maintenance of the facility.’

The proposed order would have increased funding from the local rates from 2.5p in the pound to 6p in the pound for the 2022-2023 financial year and increase each subsequent year by a further 0.1p in the pound up to a maximum capped rate of 8p in the pound.

All the southern local authorities had budgeted for this when setting their rates.

The Southern Members persuaded the President of Tynwald to allow an emergency question on the withdrawal of this order to be taken in the final hour before Tynwald began the March sitting.

‘Since then, we have met with Education Minister Julie Edge and the department has guaranteed financial support for this current year to keep all the regional pools open and the department has announced a review of all public swimming pools on the island, including the National Sports Centre,’ said the statement.

‘We have also queried the closure of the café facilities at the pool at the end of the current school term and the redundancies.

‘However, it is not our job to run the facility as that is the job of the board which is largely made up with representatives from the southern local authorities.

‘The Southern Tynwald members believe a pool is never going to run at a profit and the business model should always be about putting the customer first.

‘We are fighting for the existing pool to be maintained for community use until a new one is built on the Castle Rushen High School site.’

This comes after figures were released in March by Education Minister Julie Edge showing a long-term trend of underinvestment at the pool.

According to Ms Edge, the Southern Pool had spent £19,145 on minor capital schemes since 2014, when her department took over responsibility for the regional pools.

This was less than 10% of the spend of the Western Pool, which had spent £228,817 in that time and the Northern Pool which spent £247,681 between 2014/14 up to 2021/22.

Meanwhile, a petition has been launched to save the facility. It says the pool is something ‘all generations can enjoy and benefit from’.

It can be found on under ‘Save Southern Swimming Pool’.

A plan for a privately-funded £6m swimming pool complex at King William’s College in Castletown was given permission in principle last month.