Election campaigners have claimed that 96 per cent of Bootham residents oppose closing York swimming pools.

Liberal Democrats fighting in the ward's by-election have published results of a residents' survey conducted over the past few weeks.

It shows massive support to keep both Yearsley and Barbican pools open. They are threatened by a service review currently being carried out by City of York Council which has prompted an Evening Press campaign supported by thousands.

Survey respondents also said they wanted street cleaning and bus services at least maintained to their present standard. Both were subject to recent budget cuts by City of York Council.

The majority also wanted to see money saved by cutting expenditure on council reports to the Government and on public relations. The survey, carried out door-to-door, and with more than 600 respondents, also showed dissatisfaction with crime control in the ward.

Kim Tarry, Liberal Democrat candidate, said: "The results clearly demonstrate that the present council is hopelessly out of touch with people's priorities."

The by-election, to be held on May 11, is also being contested by Conservative Bill Bennett, Green Party member Ajaye Black, Alexander Fraser for Labour and Graham Cambridge, also known as Eddie Vee, for the Official Monster Raving Loony Party.

Mr Bennett said: "It is a shame that more police officers can't be employed, particularly in the Bootham area where the crime rate is high and where residents are worried. There are gangs of kids in this area with nothing to do and the council could offer activities to them which could help them get jobs in the future."

Mr Fraser said: "There is clearly support for swimming facilities in the city, but the real political decision is how best to deliver them. We have to carry out a best value review and, when the results of that are known, we shall have full consultation. The Liberal Democrats are pre-empting that.

"Everybody wants to see a reduction in crime, but the difference between us and the Liberal Democrats is we are taking the action necessary to bring about reductions in crime within the resources that are available."

A similar survey is being carried out in Monk ward in preparation for a by-election on May 18.