SKIPTON MP Julian Smith is backing efforts to keep Settle Area Swimming Pool open amid a worrying wait over the facility’s future.

The pool received a blow last month when it missed out on funding through the government’s £60m Swimming Pool Support Fund — money aimed at supporting leisure centres hit by high energy costs.

The Craven Herald reported the pool has been forced to increase the price of an adult swim by 75p and ask customers to make financial donations to keep the pool running. It has also opened up a second charity shop in an effort to raise money.

The popular charity-run leisure centre only reopened in October last year following an £840,000 redevelopment but there are fears it could now close for good as it struggles to meet costs.

Councillor David Staveley, (Con, Settle and Penyghent), asked the Skipton and Ripon MP at last week's meeting in Skipton of North Yorkshire Council's Skipton and Ripon Area Constituency Committee meeting what help he could offer the pool as it fights for its future.

Cllr Staveley said: “In the community there’s an awful lot of interest in this but I fear the pool doesn’t really have the answers within their gift. If we don’t find the solution it may actually close due to increased costs.”

Mr Smith, who attended the reopening of the pool last year, called its recent transformation “amazing” and said he had a meeting with trustees from the pool later the same day.

He added: “I will look at any ways in addition to council support that I can think of. It must stay open. Swimming is vital in terms of access to community sport.”

Out of 200 pools and leisure centres across the country that received funding in November none were in North Yorkshire, including the council-run Craven Leisure in Skipton.

Cllr Simon Myers, (Con, Mid-Craven) who is responsibility for culture, arts and housing on North Yorkshire Council’s decision-making executive, said the fund was too thinly-spread across the country.

He said: “The response [from government] was the council’s bid had merit but there wasn't enough money to around. North Yorkshire Council is trying to work with the trustees but they are up against it. It’s a remarkable facility and it does that without public subsidies so hats off to them.”

Colin Coleman, chair of Settle Pool, said earlier this month there was a real danger that the pool could close.

He said: “There is only one other public pool within 20 miles of Settle. We offer a wide range of sessions for all ages as well as public swimming and school swimming and it is now clear that without urgent action there is a real danger that the pool will have to close."