CAMPAIGNERS battling to save a town's swimming pool have been given a lifeline after a council reviewed a decision to close it.

Sedgefield Borough Council has agreed to meet part of the running costs of Shildon's swimming pool.

Although the pool leaked, campaigners had urged the council to think again.

They said the pool was vital for the health of local schoolchildren and residents.

Following a re-think, the council has agreed to meet the Friends of Shildon Swimming Pool and Shildon Town Council to see if the pool has a long-term future.

Councillor Bob Fleming, leader of Sedgefield Borough Council, agreed that the council had previously stepped in to save two pools at Shildon and Fishburn after they were earmarked for closure by Durham County Council.

But he said that the council had always maintained that it would not meet any costly repairs.

He said: "At this point in time the pool at Shildon will remain closed for at least three months and during that time we will meet with the pool action group and Shildon Town Council to talk about the issue. We will also have an independent report drawn up to give an indication of what problems might be faced in the future.

"We know it will cost between £10,000 and £15,000 to repair the leak and you could be looking at another £20,000 to £25,000 a year to bring it up to standard.

"The running costs of the pool are in excess of £19,500 a year and the running costs at Fishburn pool are around £14,000.

"We think it is only fair that we meet £14,000 of the costs at Shildon so that it makes it exactly the same as Fishburn.

"This means that anyone who takes over at Shildon will have to find in excess of £5,500 to make up the rest."

Treasurer of the Friends of Shildon Swimming Pool, Councillor John Quigley, welcomed the move by the borough council and said that he felt the pool committee would be able to meet the shortfall.

He said: "I think their offer is excellent but it is no good without the pool being repaired.

"We have a lot of groups who use the pool and they are having to go elsewhere at the moment. I am concerned for the children of Shildon. Where will they learn to swim if it is closed?