CAMPAIGNERS in a 15-year fight for York’s 100-year-old Yearsley Pool have called for reassurance from the parties fighting for control of York council.

Pledges to save the pool have appeared in two manifestos ahead of the local election, and other groups have laid out their commitments for the centre.

Fiona Evans is part of the Yearsley Pool Action Group and has been fighting for the pool since 1999. She said they want politicians to throw their weight behind a professionally-run pool that does not rely on volunteers, but is run on a much leaner budget than present.

Both the Liberal Democrats and the Greens have included explicit promises to keep the pool open, and the Green’s Guildhall candidate Denise Craghill said they wanted to see the contract with leisure firm GLL reviewed and oppose the “privatisation” of valued public facilities.

Labour’s Sonja Crisp, the current cabinet member for leisure at the council, said her party was committed to the “long term future” of Yearsley. A deal struck between her party and the Greens in February means the current council budget earmarks up to £300,000 a year for five years to support the pool, she added.

But, Cllr Crisp added, the difficult budget cuts at York council mean the situation has to change.

She said: “As the current Government heads towards removing funding to the council altogether, we have also said that the current subsidy to the pool has to come down, as there is no other option. But our budget decision allows time to develop options to achieve the outcome we all want for Yearsley Pool.”

Keith Aspden, who leads the Lib Dem group on the council, chairs a scrutiny group looking into the pool’s future. He said: “The Liberal Democrat group is committed to keeping Yearsley Pool open. Since 2002 we have been fighting plans by Labour to close Yearsley and we will continue to do so.”

His party was in charge at the council when £1.2 million was spent refurbishing the pool in 2007. He added: “Under a Lib Dem council this work would continue and going forward we would ensure that the annual funding was in place to keep Yearsley open.”

Ukip candidates have included a pledge to bring leisure services back into council control, but like the York Conservatives and the Labour group they have not spoken explicitly of the pool in their manifesto.

Local Tory leader Chris Steward said they want to a successful future for the pool, but know the current £250,000 subsidy has to come down.