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Search launched to find new owner for Hodder's Berners pool

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The fate of Stephen Hodder's ill-fated Berners pool hangs in the balance as the search for a new owner to take on the crumbling pool was launched today.

South Lakeland District Council, Cumbria, is looking for a new management team and operator to take on the 125-year lease of the four-year-old leisure centre.

The pool was closed last summer after the previous operator, Cartmel Peninsula Recreational Trust, went belly up leaving the building unoccupied ( Another Hodder pool left floundering ).

Built with money raised by the local community, the pool has since fallen into a state of disrepair and has been closed on and off for two years.

The council has estimated the repairs will cost anywhere up to £900,000, which is likely to put off all but the very serious leisure centre operators.

The high repair costs has led to speculation that the pool will have to be demolished, however, this is likely to be met with fierce opposition by the local community, which has been campaigning for the reopening of the pool.

Should the council find an operator it will have until 1 July to reopen the pool.

Councillor Peter Thornton said: 'Our first priority is to try to find a way of re-opening Berner's Pool. However, it needs to be understood that while South Lakeland District Council owns the land, Berner's Pool was never intended to be run, financed or managed by the council.

'SLDC has no funds or resources to take over this project. It does not have the specific expertise required to develop the pool and make it viable over the long-term which is what we are now looking for from potential tenders.'

It is the second swimming pool by Stirling Prize-winner Hodder that has had to be closed after his Clissold Leisure Centre was shut down, sparking legal action.

by Richard Vaughan

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