SWIMMERS in north Lancashire face the loss of three community pools after a cost-cutting council decision.

Lancaster City Council (LCC) announced last month that it would hand over management of Carnforth, Hornby and Heysham pools to leaseholder Lancashire County Council from April 2011, throwing into doubt their future.

The move will save the city council £133,500 a year.

Carnforth Otters swimming club uses all three pools.Coach Mark Smith said closure of the Carnforth pool would mean the club, which has 200 members, would be forced to cut numbers.

“We have produced three swimmers who are now training for the Olympics for 2012,” he said.

“If they close these pools down we won’t be closing the club but we won’t have as much pool time and we won’t be able to produce Olympic standard swimmers.”

Carnforth Town Council chair Ken Bond said the decision had come as a “huge blow” and alternative facilities suggested by LCC would only cater for small amount of swimmers.

He said: “The Carnforth pool was built by public subscription in 1978 for all the surrounding parishes. It was funded by a benefactor whose brother had drowned in Lancaster canal. Swimming is vital and a matter of public safety.”

City councillor for the Upper Lune Valley Peter Williamson said; “We have let swimmers down with this decision,” he said. “We have to keep our hand in our pocket for services.”

County council leader Geoff Driver said a package of measures - including the city council taking on county services and renting out offices to the county, which could save LCC £150,000 a year - was being negotiated in exchange for the city council continuing to run the pools.