Victory in battle to keep open children’s swim school

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A years-long battle by a children’s swimming school to carry on using a pool at a private house has finally ended in victory.

Sussex Swim School has at last been granted planning permission to continue holding lessons at a pool in Lower Beeding following a string of applications to Horsham District Council.

School owner Hilary Silverman at one stage feared that she would have to cut staff and curtail classes because of restrictions imposed on the school’s opening hours.

The school had been told that it could only operate during school term-time and limits were imposed on the hours that lessons could be held at the pool at Beedinglee in Brighton Road, Lower Beeding.

But now the school is celebrating after Horsham District Council lifted the restrictions.

Hilary Silverman said it had been a long, slow drawn-out process that had cost thousands of pounds. But added: “We are thrilled and our team of wonderful teachers are thrilled to be able to continue providing our pupils with excellent swimming lessons Monday to Saturday.”

Trouble first brewed for the Sussex Swim School when it was discovered that the pool was officially restricted to private use and Horsham District Council refused to allow its use for hire.

Scores of parents joined club officials in a battle to keep the pool open.

An appeal was launched against the council’s decision and Sussex Swim School was later told it could carry on - but with restrictions on its opening hours.

Chartered planning consultants Lewis & Co took on the fight and pointed out to Horsham District Council that it had granted approval for two similar schools in Small Dole and Horsham.

Luke Carter, a director at the firm, said: “Out of the blue, we got a decision notice in August granting the application.”

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 at Small Dole.