Residents launch petition to save much love paddling pool - as Derbyshire Dales council says it is 'listening'

Discontent is bubbling up in the Derbyshire Dales over plans to replace a popular park paddling pool – and hundreds of residents have now signed a petition calling on the district council to rethink its intentions.
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As previously reported, this week the council unveiled a major investment scheme for Matlock’s Hall Leys Park which includes replacing the pool in the play area, at the junction of Causeway Lane and Knowleston Place.

Announcing the move, the authority said installing a splashpad instead will be more accessible to youngsters with mobility difficulties, easier to maintain – especially in light of repeated flooding at the park – and more environmentally friendly, given splashpads consume less water and chemical treatments.

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But the pushback from local residents, including those caring for disabled children, was immediate and has been growing since.

The paddling pool at Hall Leys Park has been described as an "important piece of our town’s heritage." (Photo: Contributed)The paddling pool at Hall Leys Park has been described as an "important piece of our town’s heritage." (Photo: Contributed)
The paddling pool at Hall Leys Park has been described as an "important piece of our town’s heritage." (Photo: Contributed)

Although residents have acknowledged the need to revamp the water feature, they have also argued a pool has advantages over a splashpad, and serves as a big attraction drawing people into the town centre during the summer months.

Those calls have now crystallised into an online petition launched by Matlock parent Harper Collins-Sanders, who said: “The paddling pool has been an integral part of our community for generations, providing not just entertainment but also a place for families to come together and create lasting memories. It's more than just a pool; it's part of Matlock's identity.

“For years, my family and I have lived near the cherished paddling pool in Matlock. We've spent countless joyful hours there, watching our children play and grow confident in the water.”

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Harper added: “While we understand the need for modernization and maintenance, we believe that refurbishing or replacing the existing paddling pool would be far more beneficial. A small splash pad could be added for accessibility.”

There is a sense of urgency to the debate, given contracts to carry out all of the park works must be signed by June to secure the funding, but even before the petition surfaced the council said it would carry out a pubic consultation process over the design of the splashpad.

Within 24 hours, the petition had attracted more than 300 signatures, with more names still being added, and many also leaving messages about what the pool means to their family.

Though some have feared that consultation might not include any option to keep the pool on Friday, March 15, the council issued a new statement which may offer some hope to those who would like to see it saved.

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A spokesperson said: “As always, we are listening and reaching out to some of the people who want to see a paddling pool retained on that site, including, we hope, the person who started the petition.

“We have had to work at pace to meet government deadlines to get this exciting funding for Hall Leys Park in place – not just the water play area but also the announcement of a new skatepark and resurfaced pathways.

“While we have an initial plan, our teams are still working on the design and will try to incorporate external views in the final configuration of the facility.”

To sign the petition, go to

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