THE use of a swimming pool to teach children how to swim is uncertain after planners refused permission over fears over traffic danger.

A domestic pool at The Bungalow, on Botley Road, near Bishop's Waltham, has been used commercially to teach young children for three years.

The city council enforcement team has been investigating and Ricky Fernandez submitted an application approve the use.

The scheme has divided opinion. There have been five objections citing the dangers of an increase in traffic on a narrow access track, inadequate parking and poor visibility at the junction on Botley Road.

The highways authority, the county council, recommended refusal on traffic safety grounds.

But there were 23 letters of support stating the pool is a community asset and there had been no highways issues since it started three years ago.

The pool is used weekdays between 10am and Noon and 4-6pm; Saturdays 9am-Noon and Sunday 9.30am-Noon.

Laura Skilton, swimming teacher, said the pool was used by pre-school children and no lesson had more than six children.

Mr Fernandez said he had been originally told by a planning officer that commercial use did not need planning permission because of the limited hours.

Robert Shields, speaking for Bishop's Waltham Parish Council, said the benefits of teaching children how to swim outweighed highways issues.

Cllr David McLean said: "My worry is the access is a single lane track. If you have two cars going out and a lorry coming down going to the farm someone has to give in, and it ain't going to be the lorry."

Julie Pinnock, service lead for built environment, told the committee: "The highways authority have raised severe concerns about safety."

Ms Pinnock added that the highways authority did not think the issue was solvable.

Committee chairman Therese Evans said the pool was doing very good work but the committee could not ignore the highway concerns. "We have had very strong representations from the county council over access, the possibility of shunting on Botley Road (of cars waiting to turn onto the track). This track, in the opinion of the county council, is dangerous.

"It is up to the applicant to go back to the drawing board and see if there is a solution by talking to the county. I am very sorry for the successful classes but we are a planning committee and have had strong representations from highways to refuse this on safety grounds."

The committee voted nine to zero to refuse the plan.

The planning enforcement team was waiting for the result of the committee before taking action, said Ms Pinnock.