Empress Swimming Pool in Chatteris goes back up for auction in London - but fails to sell once again

PUBLISHED: 14:08 25 June 2019 | UPDATED: 14:08 25 June 2019

The Empress Swimming Pool in Chatteris was back up for auction today in London, with a reduced guide price of £200,000.

The Empress Swimming Pool in Chatteris was back up for auction today in London, with a reduced guide price of £200,000.

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Chatteris' Empress Swimming Pool was back up for auction today in London, with a reduced guide price of £200,000.

The pool attracted bids in the room of £218,000 - but again failed to meet its reserve price.

The auctioneers indicated that the pool could be sold today following some negotiation between the bidder and the vendor, although the highest bid fell well short of the £261,000 that the owners rejected at the previous auction last month.

Campaigner Lawrence Weetman, who is hoping to persuade Fenland District Council to list the pool as an asset of community value early next month, said: "It is clear that the asset of community value nomination is already having an effect.

"The fact that the guide price was lowered, and that the owners now seem to be considering accepting a much lower bid than the one they rejected last month, shows that the agents selling the property are losing confidence in its development potential. "We were pleased that the auctioneer informed bidders of the pending asset of community value decision, but are disappointed that he played down the impact of this - telling bidders that it 'makes no difference'.

"This couldn't be further from the truth, and it is now absolutely vital for the town and district councils to urgently join the numerous organisations and 1,200 members of the public calling for this community asset to be saved."

This week, further organisations have come forward to support the nomination for the pool to be listed as an Asset of Community Value.

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Writing in support of the pool, Dave Candler, chief executive officer of The Swimming Teachers Association, said: "One of the main obstacles we face is lack of suitable facilities both for the training of swimming teachers and the provision of swimming lessons."

Mr Candler added that, according to a report produced in 2015, in the previous 12 month period there had been 46 swimming pool closures, with only 22 new pools opening during the same period.

Mr Candler said: "Recent figures show that 263 people lost their lives due to accidental drowning in 2018.

"I is our belief that the retention of existing, and the opening of new swimming facilities is crucial in order to provide members of the public and especially children with the skills and knowledge to help reduce the number of lives lost through drowning."

Chatteris Past, Present & Future, the town's civic Society, has also lent its support to the campaign.

The trustees of the Empress Swimming Pool Trust also confirmed that they have made it through to the next stage in their bid for grant funding from Sports England. Although it has not yet been decided, the trust could receive a six-figure sum.

Meanwhile, other fundraising activities are continuing to take place: as well as a bingo night and charity concerts, there are also plans for a 'flash mob' at this weekend's Chatteris Midsummer Festival.

Trustee Heather Johnson said: "The fundraisers are thinking outside of the box."

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