A community that never gave up hope its long closed swimming baths would return

This summer marks 15 years since a Stockport suburb saw its swimming pool close its doors for the final time.

Reddish Baths shut in 2005, after Stockport Council cut its grant to its arms-length management company, Stockport Sports Trust.

At the time, the council said the facility was little used, ran at a significant loss and was too costly to keep up.

The pool eventually closed despite a huge community campaign, which included an attempt by residents to form a company to run the pool themselves.

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The authority has no plans to reopen the pool, but that has not stopped many who live in the suburb from hoping that it could one day return.

Now a discussion on the M.E.N’s In Your Area forum, asking what one thing readers would change about their area, has prompted the launch of a new petition calling for the baths to reopen. 

It has since been signed by more than 200 people in a week.

Staff at Reddish Baths, shortly before it closed
(Image: manchester evening news)

The petition reads: “Since 2005, Reddish Baths has been closed to the public, and to say this is a tragedy is an understatement.

“The swimming baths brought the community together, allowed young children the opportunity to learn a vital skill without travelling far, and provided healthy entertainment to all. It was a much loved facility.

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Councillor Peter Scott, Alan Yates (Secretary of Reddish Community Council and Andrew Gwynne (then Parlimentary candidate now MP for Denton and Reddish) pictured in 2005
(Image: manchester evening news)

“As it stands, residents have to travel to Levenshulme, Denton or Stockport centre to enjoy leisure facilities- wouldn’t it be great if we had our own again?” 

Reddish Baths shortly before it closed
(Image: manchester evening news)

A huge campaign was waged to try to save the baths before it closed.

More than 4,000 people signed a petition against the closure and demonstrations were held.

Campaigners described the loss of the pool as ‘ripping the heart out of the community’ 

Former Olympic and European Champ swimmer, Alex Storey pictured with residents campaigning to save the baths in 2005
(Image: manchester evening news)

The Friends of Reddish Baths, a group formed of about 80 members of the local community, planned to create a limited company with charitable status to take over the facility and keep it open. 

But the group had to reluctantly abandon the plans after discovering they would have a legal obligation to take on four staff and retain their local authority terms and conditions of employment, which they could not afford.

Over the years, a number of other petitions have been launched online calling for the pool to return, but to no avail.

Read more about the latest petition here or join the discussion here.

|Ma Evening Post