AMBITIOUS plans to get a disused Eastleigh swimming pool back in action have been sunk - leaving fundraisers to return £30,000.

The Shakespeare Community Pool Project was launched ten years ago. Organisers wanted to reopen a former swimming pool alongside Shakespeare Infant School on the Boyatt Wood estate as a community facility.

The estimated cost of covering and refurbishing the pool was £750,000 and former Eastleigh mayor Maureen Sollitt raised £10,000 towards the scheme during her year of office in 2001/02. Now years of determined work has been dashed by a decision to fill in the pool during the summer holidays.

Project founder and driving force behind the scheme, Jane Field, said a public meeting would be held on a date to be fixed to decide what to do with the money raised for the project. Apart from the cash headache, the demise of the scheme has led to accusations that governors and staff at the school poured cold water on the plans.

Mrs Field, 52, who went to the school herself, said: "It saddens me that the downfall of the project has been brought about by fierce opposition from the very people who should have given us their full support."

She claimed that, because of the school's opposition, the committee was not able to get charity status to enable them to pursue grants.

Chairman of the pool project, Terry Holden-Brown said: "We had hoped that the infant school governors and staff would support the principle of developing fitness and water safety awareness with its pupils."

However, head teacher Jane Skinner told the Daily Echo that the pool was decommissioned more than nine years ago and, although fenced off from the school site, was a health and safety concern. She and the governing body had also been worried about plans for a community pool so close to the school. Meanwhile, the committee had failed to come up with the cash for the project.

She said that a meeting had been held in July last year when the project committee had been set a deadline to prove the feasibility of the pool scheme. By April little progress had been made and county council education supremo Councillor Don Allen had authorised filling in the pool during the coming summer holidays.