FAMILIES packed out a public meeting organised by campaigners determined to save a popular seaside paddling pool.

They were at Smallgains Hall, Creek Road, Canvey, to discuss the proposed closure of a tidal pool near the Concord Cafe, on Canvey seafront – which generations of children have enjoyed paddling and crab fishing in since the Thirties.

More than 4,000 people have signed a petition calling on Castle Point Council to reverse its decision.

Leader of the Echo-backed Protect Our Pool campaign, Lea Swann, 55, who runs Concord Cafe, said: “There have been several council meetings over the pool, but this was the first meeting organised by residents, with the aim of making sure all the people who actually use it can have their say.

“We’re worried lots of people now think the battle is won and the pool has been saved, but the truth is Castle Point Council has been delaying holding talks over its future and we have to keep as much pressure on the decision makers as we possibly can.”

Castle Point Council originally claimed it would be too expensive to bring the pool up to health and safety standards. It could cost £58,000 to make it safe and about 5,000 a year to maintain. But campaigners argue no one has been injured throughout the pool’s history, and funds should be found to do whatever work is needed.

Castle Point Council chief executive David Marchant confirmed last month he had taken notice of public support to save the pool. Now council leaders are set to meet with Canvey Town Council chiefs on Wednesday to discuss whether the town council could cover the costs.

Joyce Evans, 52, of Sheldon Road, Canvey, said: “I think this would be one more nail in the coffin for Canvey as a seaside resort if they close the pool. It’s something that gives a lot of pleasure to local families and should be saved.”

John Pharro, 66, of Orrmo Road, Canvey, said: “I think it would be just as expensive to pay workmen to take away the pool as it would to make it safe.”

Sharon Scott, 36, of Gifhorn Road, Canvey, started the Facebook page, Fight to Save Canvey Crabbing Pool, which has 1,500 members. She said: “If they take it away and children have to swim in the sea, it would be much more dangerous. I came to the meeting tonight for my three children.”