A CAMPAIGN has been launched to save St George's Park paddling pool after a motion to close it down was put to Kidderminster town councillors.

At a full council meeting on Wednesday (January 29), the town Conservative Group moved a motion to close the paddling pool in St George's Park as no group had come forward to take over its management.

In 2016, Wyre Forest District Council transferred the responsibility for running the pool to Kidderminster Town Council after announcing it could no longer fund the facility, sparking a campaign to save it.

But the town council's Conservative Group says it only agreed to take on the pool from 2017 until a community group took over the following year.

Last week's motion to close down the pool was amended following protests from councillors to allow for further talks with local voluntary group Friends of St George's Park.

It means the council has until April to find a new owner - otherwise the proposal to close the pool will again be put to members.

The motion has prompted Labour town councillor Sarah Rook to set up an online petition to keep the pool open, calling it a "kick in the teeth" for people who have worked so hard to maintain the facility.

Kidderminster Shuttle:

Cllr Rook said: "I’m so upset by this decision, its cruel and heartless. The community it serves doesn’t have a great deal, but everything they have they fight and work for.

"This is a real kick in the teeth for all of those hard working groups that give so much of their time to help maintain the area.

"This pool is very well used and loved by the children and I feel desperately sorry for them."

She added: "We have sunk to an all-time low when we start to deprive children in hard pressed areas of valued community assets like this.

"I am launching a petition to let the council know how angry we are and to call for them to reconsider this awful act."

In its first 12 hours, the petition was signed by nearly 400 people. To view the petition, go to change.org/p/kidderminster-town-council-keep-st-george-s-paddling-pool-open.

A spokesman for the town council's Conservative Group said that all members of the council - including Labour, Independent and Liberal Democrat members - voted in 2016 for Kidderminster Town Council to take over the paddling pool, with a view to the Friends of St George's Park or another group taking over the pool by 2019.

The group spokesman added: "Given that the budget discussed at last month's meeting was to cover 2020/2021 - beyond the end of the date agreed by all - it was proposed that, as no group had come forward to take over the park, the town council had to look at closing the pool.

"However, in light of discussions at the meeting, this motion was amended to say that any final decision would be made after more discussions have taken place with the Friends of St George’s.

"Councillor Fran Oborski told all present that the Friends have a solution and the funding.

"All then agreed to give the Friends of St George’s, or any other local group, until the end of this financial year to come forward.

"At that point another discussion will be had before a decision is taken. Therefore, any petition at this stage is premature."