NEWS that Oaklands Swimming Pool in Southampton is to lose its £235,000 annual subsidy shows how the divide between those who have and those who do not is widening.

Southampton folk in Millbrook and Lordshill looking for affordable swimming will be forced to bus to Shirley or further where they will find often overcrowded facilities.

Those with their own garden pools or pay for health club membership will of course not be affected.

The Green Party has shouted loud and clear that freezing council tax year on year would lead to a reduction in services. That aside, before wielding the axe the council can consider some parameters.

Southampton, a major port, is expected to train youngsters in swimming skills as our children are encouraged to work in maritime industries and participate in water sports. Local schools like the Oasis Academy Lords Hill, (Oaklands being on one site) will be sending students in droves to the pool.

The new school building opening in September will attract maximum pupil premium, and the school might consider finding money from education grants to help keep the pool open. The specialist Sports College at Redbridge might too.

The pool means Southampton residents have all-year access to partake in healthy exercise, elderly and disabled people can exercise with less stress. I think there could be reasonable grounds to apply to the local NHS for more funding as it will mean a healthier population.

Perhaps Labour should now come clean and say what they really intend to do with the Oaklands site.

JOE COX, address supplied, South West Hants Green Party.