EXCITEMENT is building over renewed efforts to bring a full-length public swimming pool back to Minehead, ten years after the last one closed.

Retired engineer Peter Wellstood, from Porlock, has been gathering information and investigating the possibilities for about a year, and is now arranging a feasibility study.

He envisions a pool, gym, cafe and crèche in the development, expected to cost about £4.5million.

Following discussions with Mayor of Minehead Tony Berry, Minehead Vision Group chairman Brenda Maitland-Walker, West Somerset Council and other influential parties, Mr Wellstood is getting a team together to start work.

He said: “I am going to push it as far as I can – I don’t like to think of it as just a possibility.

“So many people would benefit from a pool in the district – mums and babies, school children, clubs, the elderly and tourists.

“I have had lots of talks with lots of people and I have put in an expression of interest for two pieces of land in Minehead.

“I think Minehead is probably the best place in West Somerset to build it – it’s a difficult one, but as it has the greatest population and considering many people are used to travelling to the town, I think that’s right.

“It’s going to have to be funded using grants from various sources, so thenext stage is a feasibility study. I hate it, because I feel money is being wasted, but at the same time ithas to be done so I can go to the grant people with something concrete.

“Planning the actual building and the layout inside will be really important, to make sure we build something locals and visitors find attractive.”

The issue is still a priority for many people and Minehead Town Council is hoping to discuss making land available in the town centre.

Cllr Tony Berry said: “It’s tremendously important for children learning to swim and for improving the health of all age groups. It is still a big talking pointin the town.

“I think it’s excellent if we can get it off the ground. The biggest problem is finding the funding and somewhere suitable to build it.

“Peter is coming to the town council next Tuesday to discuss the possibility of providing land at the Recreation Ground in Irnham Road for the swimming pool.

“Some of the buildings there have to come down and we don’t want to look at any re-building work before we investigate this project. It is an excellent venue.”

Mr Wellstood will be holding an open meeting to fill people in on the project once progress has been made.