THE death knell looks to have sounded for Minehead's Aquasplash swimming complex after it was decided that keeping the facility open would not be "financially viable".

The West Somerset County Gazette can reveal that a report recommending closure, written by the council's portfolio holder for leisure, culture and recreation, Cllr Neil Par-brook, will go before cabinet on February 13.

The recommendation is that the entire facility is closed permanently with immediate effect and that the possibility of redeploying full-time staff is looked into.

An investigation into the disposal of assets and the subsequent demolition of Aquasplash is also suggested, a timetable for which would go before cabinet in April.

A report recommending the closure of Aquasplash was included in a cabinet agenda for December 5 but was withdrawn to allow for talks with county council officials on a possible rescue package.

A West Somerset Council spokesman said: "After much work and research, it has been acknowledged by both parties that all available options would leave the council, any potential partner and the taxpayer at high financial risk.

"The costs of upkeep on the ageing facility, which is currently closed due to leakage from the pool, will also inevitably increase with time. Therefore, it is with great regret that a report will be going to West Somerset Council's cabinet on February 13 recommending the permanent closure of the facility."

The complex has been closed since October 15 because of a major leak, which would have cost just £5,000-£15,000 to repair.

But the report states that more than £200,000 could be saved if left shut, helping the council bridge an overspend running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The council's finance officer, Alison Griffin, said: "If members choose to keep this facility, any additional costs would have to be found from savings elsewhere in the budget. This is not felt to be financially practical or sustainable.

"Due regard must also be given to the unavoidable investment needs to make the building safe and operationally fit, and the opportunity loss of not being able to achieve a capital receipt from the sale of the land.

"The need to achieve capital receipts is fully documented in both the medium term financial plan and the budget report."

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