USERS of Health Hydro have reacted with anger to the operator’s decision to permanently close the smaller of the two pools.

The facility has been used by children and new swimmers to build up their confidence in the water but after it developed a leak in January, the cost of repairing it has been deemed too high.

Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), which holds the lease to the Milton Road facility, said this combined with the disruption it would cause, has meant it has taken the decision to permanently decommission the small pool.

In the coming weeks, users will be informed and timetables at other facilities, operating under GLL’s Better Swindon brand, are being altered to ensure there are still opportunities available for users.

But one user says the decision will hit many people, both young and old, who will not be able to go elsewhere.

Not wanting to be identified, they said: “The closure is a travesty for young children learning to swim and for the swimming clubs that use the pool.

“It will have a direct negative effect on children learning to swim as it was an ideal training pool of an ideal depth for beginners. It was also ideal for having parents very nearby to encourage and support unconfident children.

“I feel that the closure of the pool has been kept quiet and rushed through before anyone has had the chance to oppose it.”

Opened in 1891, the Health Hydro is one of the oldest public swimming pools in the country but in recent years has struggled financially.

When GLL took over the lease along with the rest of the town’s leisure facility in 2014, it was only on a five year deal, leading some to suggest it might close after this period.

However, GLL say they are committed to it and it is with regret they have made the decision to shut the pool.

A spokesman said: “The small pool at the Health Hydro has been closed since January 2016 due to a number of operating problems.

“We have spent the past three months extensively investigating what was needed to remedy these problems, which have included issues such as age, pipework, access and asbestos.

“Sadly, we have concluded that not only would the work be extremely complex to undertake, affecting other areas of the Health Hydro, but costs to bring the pool up to standard are prohibitive. It is with great reluctance that we have made the decision to decommission the small pool.

“We have reconfigured the main pool to accommodate the bulk of the small pool’s programme and are also working to synchronise the Hydro’s pool timetable with other Better centres within Swindon, to ensure there are maximum opportunities to swim for local residents.”