A SWIMMING pool is to be built in Biggin Hill bringing an end to a 15-year battle for better leisure facilities in the town. Swimmers and residents welcomed the announcement that Bromley Council's policy and resources committee had agreed to spend £600,000 on the 25-metre pool.

Councillors hope the pool to be built at the Charles Darwin School, Jail Lane will be opened by the summer of 2002.

Carol Collier, former swimming instructor and chairman of Swimmers' Action Group (SWAG) said: “This is a fantastic achievement by the whole of the community and SWAG.

“It means so much for residents and schools in the area.

“I used to have to take my children to West Wickham or Crystal Palace when we went swimming. By public transport that is impractical. Now everyone can use it. The schools are really going to benefit.”

SWAG a group of five active Biggin Hill swimmers formed in 1997 put about £60,000 worth of donations and grants towards the total cost of the pool. The rest of the £1.2m the pool will cost will come from the council and lottery money.

The lottery fund has twice turned down bids for money despite the area being described as “a swimming pool black hole” by the Sports Council.

SWAG members said support from local councillors, Bob Shekyls and Geoff Gostt, was vital in winning over the council to their point of view.

Cllr Shekyls said: “We have waited many years for this pool. It is a fantastic achievement by the community to get the money together.”

The pool will be built next to the leisure complex at Charles Darwin School.