A battle to save a children’s swimming centre under threat of closure because of a planning wrangle has ended in victory.
And jubilant staff and parents are celebrating this week after a planning inspector gave the go-ahead for Sussex Swim School to carry on providing lessons at a private pool in Lower Beeding.
Trouble brewed when it was discovered that the pool was officially restricted to private use and Horsham District Council received complaints about the ‘unauthorised use’ of the pool at a house known as Beedinglee in Brighton Road.
Permission was then sought to allow use of the pool for private hire, but the application was turned down because of the scale of use and its ‘inappropriate location’ in the countryside.
Scores of parents joined club officials in a battle to keep the pool open. An appeal was launched - and Sussex Swim School has now been told: You can carry on.
Relieved swim school owner Hilary Silverman said: “It’s absolutely fantastic news.” And she added: “We are so very relieved. Four hundred pupils can continue their lessons, ten teachers retain their jobs.”
And in a message posted on Facebook, she said: “ I would like to thank all of my fantastic teachers, my family, friends and loyal customers for their continued support. Common sense has prevailed.”
The school has been providing swimming lessons for children aged from one to five since 2010.
Beedinglee is the largest of four venues used by Sussex Swim School - the others are at Great Walstead School in Lindfield; Handcross School and Robins Garth Hortons Corner at Small Dole.
In letters to Horsham District Council, many parents spoke of their affection for Sussex Swim School and how beneficial it was for their children.
Sussex Swim School was awarded the ASA ‘Best Swim School in the UK’ silver medal in 2014.