Cornwall councillors have called for health organisations to provide funding which would allow a hydrotherapy pool to reopen. The hydrotherapy pool at Polkyth Leisure Centre in St Austell has been closed since before the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was one of several leisure facilities that operator GLL told Cornwall Council that it could no longer afford to run and was earmarked for permanent closure. Whilst several of the other threatened facilities – Wadebridge and Saltash leisure centres – have been saved the hydrotherapy pool remains shut.

Cornwall Council officers told a meeting of the council’s customer and support services overview and scrutiny committee this morning that it had been unable to source any alternative funding to reopen the pool or an alternative operator to take it on. As a result they said that it was unlikely that the facility would reopen.

The pool had originally been provided through fundraising and had been used by people who needed hydrotherapy as part of their medical treatment. It is fitted with hoists and has accessible changing rooms for those who use it.

Independent councillor Julian German has been campaigning to get the pool reopened saying that it is a vital facility for those who need it. He highlighted that whilst there are other facilities nearby, at the Merlin Centre at Hewas Water and at Royal Cornwall Hospital in Treliske, these are already used to capacity.

He said that elsewhere in the country such facilities had been provided funding through the local integrated care systems and said that this should be looked at as a possible option in Cornwall.

Cllr German said: “The Treliske hydrotherapy pool is oversubscribed and before Polkyth closed that is where they would refer people if they had no spaces left. It (Polkyth) has more medical equipment, hoists and changing areas that other hydrotherapy pools in Cornwall don’t have.”

He said that the council should be working with health organisations in Cornwall to secure funding for the pool so that it can reopen. A recommendation that the council asks for assistance from the integrated care system was approved by the committee.

In a general update on leisure facilities in Cornwall the committee heard that the Wadebridge Leisure Centre had been devolved to a local community group and was now running well. They also heard that Saltash Leisure Centre had remained open under GLL but was being run with more support from the local community, with membership rising.

Councillors heard that the Saltash centre could be used as a model for the future operation of other leisure centres in Cornwall. They were also told that discussions were ongoing about devolving Ships and Castles Leisure Centre in Falmouth to Falmouth Town Council.

However, they were told that Launceston Leisure Centre is set to close after the council and the Coronation Trust, which owns the site, had been unable to find a new operator.

The committee also heard that as part of the leisure strategy review the council would be carrying out a survey of all playing fields in Cornwall to assess what facilities are available. They were told that this could take around a year due to a need to assess seasonal differences for different sports and activities.