Campaigners to stand firm over siting of £13.6m Afan Lido
PORT Talbot campaigners have said they will not back down over the siting of the Afan Lido replacement.
Robbie Phillips and Harry Worth, from the Port Talbot People Against the Inferior Rebuild of Afan Lido, who gave a presentation to the task and finish group, said they still wanted the new lido to be built on its original site.
Neath Port Talbot Council has proposed that the £13.6 million rebuild is moved to Hollywood Park.
Mr Phillips, speaking to the group of councillors set up to revisit the proposals after the council and campaigners failed to reach agreement on crucial elements of the plans, said they wanted a "iconic" building.
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He said: "We want a quality fit for purpose building to serve the whole community." The pair argued that the council would save money by placing the centre back on its original site as the ground works were already in place.
"They are very expensive to provide," said Mr Phillips.
"What we are saying is how much of that cost is coming out of the kitty?"
Mr Worth added: "The big thing with the ground works is we have got an existing site where they are in place.
"Ground works are expensive for any facility but are particularly expensive for swimming pools."
Group chairman Anthony Taylor asked Mr Phillips and Mr Worth how would they feel if the sale of the land from the former site could help provide better facilities at the centre.
But Mr Phillips said: "I truly believe it should be on the original site."
The councillors heard that as well as the same site, the campaigners — who collected more than 10,000 signatures in support from residents — said they want an eight-lane swimming pool with a moveable floor to ensure flexibility and maximum use.
They also want a spectator provision, a health suite, a gym, an eight-court, badminton-size sports hall with a spectator facility and a dance hall.
Councillor Linet Purcell said she would find it helpful for the group to provide them with a prioritised "shopping list".
She said: "At the end of the day, we have got to make a decision and we have listened to what you have had to say.
"But can you prioritise what you are looking for.
"It may come to we want to include a lot of what you have asked for but we can't afford it. So if you have to miss something, we don't miss the wrong one."
Mr Worth explained it was difficult as different people they represented had different opinions.
But added: "We would like it all, please, if you can afford it."
Councillor Rob Jones said it was all down to a "matter of cost" and that they will be speaking to more groups.
He added that many of the questions they had raised had already been asked and would be considered.
Mr Phillips said: "We think you are doing an admirable job and we did not want this pushed through without proper thought."
Concluding the meeting, Mr Taylor thanked the speakers.
"I think we do share the same aims," he said. "It is how we get there and how we can afford to get there."