SWIMMERS are pleading for a pool to be opened.

Brighton Swimming Club and Shiverers Swimming Club have written to new city council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty to ask whether pools – namely the King Alfred in Hove – can reopen for “the benefit of the community”.

Brighton and Hove City Council has said it would open sites gradually after the lifting of lockdown measures on Saturday.

However, it said, leisure centres have been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, leaving many councils and their leisure partners under pressure.

Brighton Swimming Club chairman John Kent said: “Swimming is an important pastime for an awful lot of people – it’s important for physical and mental health and an important activity for a lot of young people in the city.

“There’s no fundamental reason why they cannot open, these delays are on behalf of the council and that’s to no one’s benefit, least of all the community.”

Together, the two clubs have about 1,000 members. They said these children who miss their friends and their sport and older people, who rely on swimming for their health and wellbeing.

The clubs say they can work with Freedom Leisure, the council’s leisure partner, to provide enough baseline club capacity to let the King Alfred open without running at a loss.

The open letter to new Green council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty states: “We see this as an enabler to help provide public provision but also appreciate that there is natural tension between the balance of club and public provision.

“While expanding club provision on one site might require the revision of the present public availability clauses at King Alfred, we are also very mindful that without such baseload club provision, Freedom Leisure is unlikely to be incentivised to open a swimming pool unless BHCC supports a recapitalisation at significant additional cost to the local rate payer.

“To this extent the Clubs believe we are offering a pragmatic solution to help get one BHCC operated pool open, from which Freedom Leisure can build the financial confidence to open other sites.”

The letter was due to be discussed at a policy and resources committee today.

A council spokesman said: “Leisure centres have been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak, leaving many councils and their leisure partners stretched to the limit financially.

“Without additional Government support for leisure services there is a huge funding gap when taking into account the cost of running the facilities with all the additional measures that need to be put in place.

“These include physical distancing, which will impact on capacity, and the high levels of cleanliness and hygiene required.

“Nationally the Local Government Association is continuing to highlight the need for urgent measures to support the leisure sector to survive and earlier this month wrote to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.”