A MEMBER of a group exploring ways of saving Minehead's Aquasplash swimming pool says he is optimistic it can reopen after touring the facility.

Jim Butterworth, who regularly hired Aquasplash for his Watchet Dolphins swimming club until the pool closed in October, says the building is in better condition than he expected.

Mr Butterworth is part of a working party, including West Somerset councillors and Aquasplash users, that visited the pool last Friday, before a further meeting in council offices on Monday.

Mr Butterworth told the County Gazette: "We've had two really positive meetings. There's a very good chance that Aquasplash will reopen.

"There's very little wrong with the building at all.

"Apart from the main leak, which would cost £15,000 to replace, there's a minor leak on a pipe, and the place needs a good clean.

"Apart from that, it looks exactly as it did on the day it closed.

"It's been very well maintained, which was reassuring to see and I think it would be reopened with very minimal cost."

West Somerset Council agreed last month to stop operating Aquasplash with immediate effect but left the door open for another operator to take it on.

Mr Butterworth said: "It all depends on the finances. We remain optimistic the money can be found and an operator can be found.

"In Minehead, I can't walk down the street without people asking whether Aquasplash is going to reopen."

Mr Butterworth also highlighted the economic significance of Aquasplash closing.

He said: "People who used to swim here are now going to Taunton, Wellington or Bridgwater.

"It's a 50-mile round trip and once people have gone that far, they often do a shop as well.

"That's money out of the area and it's not good for Minehead."

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