MORE than a thousand people have signed a petition to expand a private members' swimming facility after an ongoing planning dispute.

Launching in 2021, demand for the facilities at 'Swim at 55' on Park Road, Golborne, has "skyrocketed" over the past two years, as it offers members private swimming sessions in a heated indoor pool.

To try and alleviate the demand and growing waiting list, a planning application has been put forward to Wigan Council to construct a second swimming pool at the facility.

As around 70 percent of members at 'Swim at 55' are those with special needs, a second pool would greatly accommodate the demand for private and therapeutic sessions, the owners have said.

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Leigh Journal: The heated indoor pool at Swim at 55The heated indoor pool at Swim at 55 (Image: Swim at 55)
Although pre-planning guidance was made over a year ago and the initial application was put forward in March, a decision has still not been made after a dispute with planning officials.

A Conservation Officer at the council has expressed concerns about "intensifying" the use of the swimming facility into more of a commercial entity.

A second pool would "impact upon the character of the conservation area" and bring an increased volume of traffic to the area, the officer has said.

The council's Tree and Woodland Officer also expressed concerns that the new pool would be constructed in tree protection zones under the conservation area, and cause damage to trees.

However, this part of the application is believed to have been amended and changed, and the frustrated owners are adamant that a second pool would be in keeping with the character of their land.

Leigh Journal: Owners are attempting to build a second pool to alleviate demandOwners are attempting to build a second pool to alleviate demand (Image: Swim at 55)
Steve Crum, owner of Swim at 55, said: "The whole planning process has been a farce, because it has taken so long to make any sort of decision.

"70 percent of our members are people with special needs and they love it because it's a completely private facility.

"I don't understand the council's concerns about an increase in traffic as members use the pool for 80 minutes at a time, so it is a couple of cars coming in every 80 minutes.

"There is growing frustration because I don't think that the planning officials are interested in the benefits of the pool or what it would be used for, as we have so many positive comments from people waiting for a decision."

The petition for a second pool at Swim at 55, which contains more information, can be found here.