WHITCHURCH residents have been left "high and dry" by the closure of the town's only swimming pool, according to the MP for North Shropshire.

Helen Morgan is calling for a free bus to support residents who have been forced to use facilities at Market Drayton – 14 miles away and with no direct public transport link – since the Whitchurch pool was temporarily closed in March 2020 and has remained that way since.

Shropshire Council confirmed last week that they will be carrying out a feasibility survey as part of proposals to build a new leisure centre in Whitchurch.

Ms Morgan said: "There is no direct public transport between the two towns, so for those households without a car, taking a bus into Shrewsbury and out again costs one person approximately £12 - £15 and an estimated travel time of over three hours one-way.

"It’s clear that for those households without a car, there are no realistic alternatives for swimming until the new facility is open.

"I would be interested to know the annual operational saving currently being made as a result of the pool’s closure, and suggest this amount is re-allocated to providing a free shuttle-bus service from central Whitchurch to an alternative pool while the new leisure facility is being constructed."

Ms Morgan said parents are finding there are no places for their children at other places and urged extra swimming lessons to be provided for children from Whitchurch.

Ms Morgan added: "My inbox is full of emails from families who can’t easily get to Market Drayton, or can’t get a space in swimming schools there.

"That is why I’ve written to ask for additional lesson spaces at alternative pools.

"Whitchurch residents are tired of seeing their precious facilities close one-by-one.

"A new leisure centre is extremely welcome, but the people here can’t wait for years with no access to a realistic alternative.

"We cannot let Whitchurch residents be left high and dry by these sorts of closures."

Shropshire Council said they realise people were disappointed the current swimming pool was not going to reopen but added the town could benefit from a new facility.

Councillor Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, place, tourism and transport said: "Everyone has been very disappointed that the current centre has been unable to reopen, but this is a situation that is not going to change.

"The building is not structurally sound, but a new facility could be a massive benefit to all."

In June 2021 Shropshire councillors backed an option to build a brand-new swimming centre.