Scaled-back swimming pool plans approved

Worcester News: Scaled-back swimming pool plans approved Scaled-back swimming pool plans approved

SCALED-BACK plans to build a new six-lane swimming pool in Worcester look set to go ahead despite appeals to reinstate a scrapped scheme for an eight-lane facility.

Cash-strapped Worcester City Council revealed earlier this month a £13 million scheme for a new eight-lane, competition-standard pool at Perdiswell had been scrapped due to cost pressures and had been replaced with plans for an extension to the leisure centre.

At a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Tuesday, April 15 members agreed to approve the plans, which are expected to cost up to £7 million, despite widespread concern from people involved with swimming that it would not be suitable.

Chairman of Worcester Swimming Club Adele Rimell spoke at the start of the meeting, saying the smaller pool would mean there was not enough capacity to provide swimming facilities to everyone who wanted it.

“No one knows what the funding situation will be in 12 months and the consequences will be with us long after you have left office,” she said. “This will be your legacy.”

But Cllr Roger Berry said the council had little choice.

“In a world without local government cutbacks I would be more than happy to propose a pool with eight lanes,” he said.

“The reality is we live in very tough times.

“There is no way the city is going to be able to fund an eight-lane pool.”

He added it was “a miracle” the council were even able to go ahead with the revised plans.

“It would be cloud cuckoo land for us to take on a cost we can’t afford," he said.

Chairman of the programme board Duncan Sharkey presented a series of possibilities for the future of the scheme – to refurbish and extend the Perdiswell centre, to go ahead with the original plans to build an entirely new facility, to build a smaller pool, to ‘mothball’ the scheme in the hope it could be returned to in the future, to seek more funding for the plans or to scrap it entirely.

He said the ultimate decision would have to be made on cost.

“Running an eight lane pool is substantially more expensive for the council because of the amount of water we need to keep heating and the number of staff,” he said.

Council leader Cllr Adrian Gregson said: “We should be really welcoming this opportunity.

“Six or so months ago there was a very real risk we wouldn’t get to this stage.

“We’ve got to the stage now where we can very positively say there will be a swimming pool in Perdiswell and the development will be better than the one we started off with.

“But we do recognise the concerns and disappointment that some people have.

“We can now get rid of the debate and start cutting sods.”

The cabinet agreed to approve the plans to refurbish and extend the Perdiswell centre, which will also include a new gym. If the plans are approved by the full council in June the facility could be complete by the end of next year, six month earlier than the previous proposal.

The current pool in Sansome Walk is set to be demolished once the building work is complete.

Comments (5)

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3:07pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Marant says...

Whilst it's good that there's going to be a new pool, did they even look at having an 8 lane pool? I can't believe it would cost another £7 million for the two extra lanes that would make it competition standard.

With a decent competition standard pool we could have become the regional centre for swimming competitions, as there's nothing similar near by.
Whilst it's good that there's going to be a new pool, did they even look at having an 8 lane pool? I can't believe it would cost another £7 million for the two extra lanes that would make it competition standard. With a decent competition standard pool we could have become the regional centre for swimming competitions, as there's nothing similar near by. Marant
  • Score: 8

11:34pm Wed 16 Apr 14

D8E411 says...

I completely agree with having the scaled down version for several reasons. If the council can't afford an 8 lane pool then surely the users would be happy with a NEW 6 lane pool, rather than have the plans scrapped altogether. The swimming club are on every article regarding this, stating that the pool won't be big enough, yet we hear nothing of them trying to raise funds for the project that will provide them with a better standard of facility to train at and host competitions from. The current pool, for all it's faults, can deal with the demand for swimming in the area, so I fail to see how a 'smaller pool would mean there was not enough capacity to provide swimming facilities to everyone who wanted it'.
I agree a new pool in the city will be fantastic, but why suffer financially just because 'the swimming club' want a bigger pool. I wouldn't think that for the average swimmer having 6 or 8 lanes makes any difference, it's about the fact that people of all ages can take part and it is a great way to stay fit and healthy.
I completely agree with having the scaled down version for several reasons. If the council can't afford an 8 lane pool then surely the users would be happy with a NEW 6 lane pool, rather than have the plans scrapped altogether. The swimming club are on every article regarding this, stating that the pool won't be big enough, yet we hear nothing of them trying to raise funds for the project that will provide them with a better standard of facility to train at and host competitions from. The current pool, for all it's faults, can deal with the demand for swimming in the area, so I fail to see how a 'smaller pool would mean there was not enough capacity to provide swimming facilities to everyone who wanted it'. I agree a new pool in the city will be fantastic, but why suffer financially just because 'the swimming club' want a bigger pool. I wouldn't think that for the average swimmer having 6 or 8 lanes makes any difference, it's about the fact that people of all ages can take part and it is a great way to stay fit and healthy. D8E411
  • Score: 3

12:44am Thu 17 Apr 14

Jabbadad says...

The difference between the 6 or 8 lane pool is that an 8 lane pool can be used for Competitions and training. And of cousre all swimming pools are not just for leisure.
If the plans could look into the future that should a 6 lane pool be built now, that 6 lane pool be designed so that if later on additional funding becomes available that an extension could be easily added. This would require innovative thinking something this city often remindes us that it's planners and councillors do not have.
I recall attending an exhibition for the planned New Worcestershire Royal Hospital. The plans were truly inspiring being designed with the wards coming out from the main Unit, like spokes in a wheel, with all the services being extending along their length so that if due to demand an extension were required to be built, they could easily conect more services to the existing ones. This design was by an American Architect who would have an English Architect over here to impliment the designs.
What eventualy happened was that land (which was the prime location of the site) adjacent to the hospital was sold off for the office blocks. And so the Hospital is land locked by land owned by Spetchley Estates. And sadly the Council in charge those days were the Labour council, several of who still hold seats, so perhaps still have the same non-skills for looking at the future or being Pro-Active. If extesion designs for this 6 lane pool do not look into the future then this council will have squandered the £7, million pounds on a non extendable 6 lane amusement pool.
The difference between the 6 or 8 lane pool is that an 8 lane pool can be used for Competitions and training. And of cousre all swimming pools are not just for leisure. If the plans could look into the future that should a 6 lane pool be built now, that 6 lane pool be designed so that if later on additional funding becomes available that an extension could be easily added. This would require innovative thinking something this city often remindes us that it's planners and councillors do not have. I recall attending an exhibition for the planned New Worcestershire Royal Hospital. The plans were truly inspiring being designed with the wards coming out from the main Unit, like spokes in a wheel, with all the services being extending along their length so that if due to demand an extension were required to be built, they could easily conect more services to the existing ones. This design was by an American Architect who would have an English Architect over here to impliment the designs. What eventualy happened was that land (which was the prime location of the site) adjacent to the hospital was sold off for the office blocks. And so the Hospital is land locked by land owned by Spetchley Estates. And sadly the Council in charge those days were the Labour council, several of who still hold seats, so perhaps still have the same non-skills for looking at the future or being Pro-Active. If extesion designs for this 6 lane pool do not look into the future then this council will have squandered the £7, million pounds on a non extendable 6 lane amusement pool. Jabbadad
  • Score: 4

7:17pm Thu 17 Apr 14

DarrenM says...

Wasn't the Hospital extension halted because the land was the home of great lesser spotted newt or some such nonsense?. Of course that's been quietly forgotten about now since they've started building something else on the site.
Wasn't the Hospital extension halted because the land was the home of great lesser spotted newt or some such nonsense?. Of course that's been quietly forgotten about now since they've started building something else on the site. DarrenM
  • Score: 0

10:13pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Jabbadad says...

At the meetings I attended it was announced that those who would show interest in purchasing office space would want the best positions which were where they are now on the prime vista positions on that site. And it was the then Labour Council who appeased them.
At the meetings I attended it was announced that those who would show interest in purchasing office space would want the best positions which were where they are now on the prime vista positions on that site. And it was the then Labour Council who appeased them. Jabbadad
  • Score: 0

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