“Hundreds of people have backed an MP’s calls for an Olympic-sized swimming pool at a new £40 million leisure centre.
Brighton and Hove City Council yesterday met with a number of developers behind closed doors to discuss their multimillion pound plans for the King Alfred Leisure Centre site in Hove.
Town hall bosses are keen to meet with a range of parties before deciding who is right to lead the project to replace the outdated facility.
With the details of what was discussed and who was involved being kept secret, Hove MP Mike Weatherley took the opportunity to urge people to back the call for a dividable 50 metre pool in any new centre.
This is despite the local authority initially advocating only a 25 metre pool, a large teaching pool and a leisure pool should be included.
Mr Weatherley, who said more than 200 people had signed a petition for 50 metre pool in a matter of hours, said: “I hear time and again from residents they want the flexibility of a 50 metre pool so it is no surprise the petition has already received hundreds of signatures.
“As developers meet with officials from the council, I hope that they will listen carefully to the wishes of residents.”
The City Plan, which will guide the development of Brighton and Hove until 2030, has allocated 400 homes, leisure and community facilities to the area.
At the time, Geoffrey Bowden, chairman of the council’s economic development committee, said the 50-metre pool idea had been ruled out on “firm advice” from Sport England.
But a spokeswoman for the national body, which can provide funding towards the pool, said it only ever suggested an option using an “evidence-based approach” after an in-house survey.
The Olympic-sized pool option was only added after Mr Weatherley made a plea at a town hall meeting.
It is not known if any of the developers which met council officials yesterday had a 50 meter pool as part of its plans.
But among those to have backed the idea include Shiverers Swimming Club, Amateur Swimming Association and Olympic diver Chris Mears.
A council spokesman said it was keeping its options on pool size open.
He said: “There is a very long way to go before an actual design for a new sports centre can be confirmed.
“Any decisions about a way forward on the King Alfred are being made by a cross-party basis because we are looking to reach as much agreement locally as possible.”
A timetable shows a planning application could be submitted in April 2015 at the earliest with work starting on site between April 2017 and July 2018.”