SETTLE Area Swimming Pool is to receive £150,000 from Craven District Council to help build its new ‘health and wellbeing’ extension after councillors approved its updated business plan.

The council’s policy committee also agreed to underwrite up to £135,000 for income generation and funding bids for the project, which will cost more than £602,000.

The council originally approved giving the the money last summer, but conditionally on the business plan put forward at the time was still relevant with the coronavirus pandemic.

It has now gone ahead with its support, although the council’s lead member for finance described the business plan as ‘a bit shaky’. Cllr Patrick Mulligan also called for the pool to send in its accounts every year to be looked at, which was approved by the committee.

Permission for the extension, which will include the demolition of part of the centre in Kendal Road, Giggleswick, was given by the council last month.

The extension will feature better and additional sports facilities, extended changing rooms and improved facilities for disabled users. There will also be a better reception area, with seating, and a flexible health and fitness and multi-use dance space and storage.

Pat Taylor, one of the trustees of the pool, said the trustees were working very hard to bring the 50 year old pool up to date and to diversify to make it more viable, and urged the council to give it all the support possible.

The pool was built in 1974 by local contributions responding to local concerns about the need for children to learn to swim. Since then, it has been operated and managed by community trustees and sustained by local fundraising and support.

It is one of five indoor pools on four sites in Craven. Skipton has the council owned and managed facility at Craven Leisure, Aireville Park; the pool at Giggleswick School has no general public access, and there is limited public access at the pool in Upper Wharfedale School.

Although building costs have been put at just more than £602,000, the pool has set a fundraising target of £650,000 to include a business development post to maximise the income from the new facility.

So far, it has a £125,000 grant from Sport England, £152,000 from Friends of Settle Swimming Pool, £58,000 from last year’s balance, and a £50,000 bounce back loan, and now £150,000 from the council.

It plans to raise the remaining £115,000 by applying to Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund and through its charity shop.

Deputy leader Cllr Simon Myers said the pool was also used by people in Gargrave, Long Preston, and further ‘up Dale’ and if the council was going to take a risk on its money, he could think of no better way.

Cllr Chris Rose said the trustees had made a determined effort and deserved all the help they could get. She accepted that finances were tight, but the survival of the pool was essential.

Council leader, Cllr Richard Foster, added: “We need this swimming facility. Kids need somewhere to learn how to swim.”