A BOXING club in Blackbird Leys is still waiting for an answer to see if it can move into the empty Blackbird Leys Pool.

The pool, on Blackbird Leys Road, will be drained once the £9.23m pool on Pegasus Road is opened.

Construction work, which began in July last year, is on course to be completed in December.

The new facility will have an eight-lane, 25-metre pool with a moveable floor, a teaching pool, a soft play area and new changing rooms.

The existing pool first opened in 1966, and was rebuilt with new changing facilities in 1988.

The Blackbird Leys Amateur Boxing Club first said it wanted to move into the old pool in October last year, but has still received no answer. Club chairman Tony Gibson said: “We have expressed an interest and heard nothing back.

“We have written to people at Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council and just got no reply.

“We’re not getting any answers whatsoever.”

The club has used the sports hall in the Blackbird Leys Community Centre for more than 30 years but coaches have to dismantle all equipment, including the ring, after every session. It has five sessions every week — two for juniors aged under 16, two for older students, and one for both groups combined.

Mr Gibson, who lives on the estate, said: “We would like the pool because our gym is getting too small.

“For the little ones we’re getting 25 to 30 a session, and for the older boys it’s sometimes 20.

“I need to get the boxing ring up and it takes up a third of the gym. It just doesn’t make it feasible.”

He said: “I’d like us to be allocated it, we know we’re going to have to pay something, so long as they let us know. We’d just like to know where we stand. Is it earmarked for something else? If they could just tell us, then we can move on.”

While Blackbird Leys Pool is currently run by the city council, it is the county council that owns the building.

Temple Cowley Pools is also expected to close in December because the city council claims it is no longer fit for purpose but campaign group Save Temple Cowley Pools say it should stay open.

Residents succeeded in it being registered as an asset of community value in March, delaying any sale of the site, potentially for housing.

They have until October 7 to put together a bid to buy the building from the local authority.

City council spokesman Chofamba Sithole said: “We will keep the old pool open until the new one opens.

“After that it will be decommissioned and the building will be handed back to the county council who are its owners.”

County council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said: “No decision has been made yet.”


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