A PADDLING pool in Bewdley will be removed after councils agreed the facility is too expensive to maintain.

The pool in Northwood Lane will be closed for good, while the park itself looks set to be handed over to the town council as Wyre Forest District Council continues to look at ways to close a projected £2.7 million funding gap.

As part of the agreement, the two authorities have decided that the park's pool will be removed due to the "substantial running and maintenance costs".

Gemma Robson, chairperson of the Friends of Riverside North Park, which in recent years has taken on the responsibility for the pool, said: “We are all sad to see the inevitable demise of our dear paddling pool from sheer old age which was finished off by the really bad floods last year.

"The Friends would like to thank Wyre Forest District Council for giving us the opportunity to keep it going for the last three years.”

The popular play area and surrounding open space on the riverside off Northwood Lane are now set to be transferred to Bewdley Town Council as part of Wyre Forest District Council’s Localism initiative.

Public toilets in Load Street would also be taken over by the town council, as well as the office building at 6a Load Street.

Councillor Helen Dyke, Wyre Forest District Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and community protection, said: “We know that town and parish councils across our district are keen to develop their activities and deliver more local services.

"We are working together to try to make sure facilities locals value are still available.

"The pressures on local authority funding are well documented and so this collaboration with Bewdley Town Council is very welcome.

"We have already announced the outcome of our work with Stourport Town Council and we remain in discussions with Kidderminster Town Council.

"Our Localism strategy is exploring new ways to deliver services and we are delighted with this progress.”

Councillor Anna Coleman, Mayor of Bewdley said: “Nobody wants to see local services reduced or ended and so we are pleased to be able to get together with the district council to discuss a way forward.

"We know the park and the toilets are valued by locals and visitors alike and by taking responsibility for them we can help make sure they are still available for all in our town.”

The Localism scheme gives town councils and community organisations the opportunity to play a more significant role in the way services are delivered while also reducing the money spent by the district council.

Other assets and services transferred so far under the initiative include Kidderminster Town Hall to the town council, and cutting grass verges, picking up litter and emptying bins in Wolverley and Cookley, which are now the responsibility of the parish council.

Wyre Forest Council is supporting groups to take on local assets in the way of grants.