Campaign launched to save St Albans leisure centre water flumes

PUBLISHED: 15:42 21 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:33 06 May 2010

A WATER flume fiend from St Albans has concocted a plan to save the Westminster Lodge slides. Andrew Smith, aged 50, of Beech Road, claims to be the UK s number one waterslider and said he was shattered when he first heard of the district council s plans

A WATER flume fiend from St Albans has concocted a plan to save the Westminster Lodge slides.

Andrew Smith, aged 50, of Beech Road, claims to be the UK's number one waterslider and said he was shattered when he first heard of the district council's plans to axe the Westminster Lodge flumes as part of its redevelopment.

As part of his campaign to raise awareness about the issue - Save the Flumes at Westminster Lodge - Andrew has asked the district council to sell the old flumes on the open market and use the money to invest in a new, smaller slide for the revamped leisure centre.

Andrew, who estimates he has been down the Westminster Lodge flumes more than 10,000 times, said the solution seemed obvious to him: "There's a thriving trade in used flumes worldwide and the proceeds from the sale - at least £250, I think - would more than adequately fund the installation of a smaller 30 metre single flume for the new centre."

He added: "I call upon St Albans district council to take appropriate action and give the Westminster Lodge flumes a second chance. Who knows, they could end up enjoying a new lease of life somewhere else in the UK, or in some exotic location elsewhere!"

But a council spokesperson said the Westminster Lodge plans can never include a flume: "The district council is aware Mr Smith has a particular interest in flumes but the Cabinet have already decided to progress the Westminster Lodge development based upon the plans shown in Option 2."

The preferred Option 2 includes a 23X17m swimming pool, fitness suite and four court sports hall, but has no scope for any water flumes.

To join Andrew's online campaign group, log into Facebook and type Save the Flumes at Westminster Lodge into the search box at the top right-hand side of the page.

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CountryPhile

Recently we, as a family (minus two of the kids), visited The Lodge RSPB reserve in Sandy, Bedfordshire. I had never been before, which is perhaps amiss of me as a birdwatcher as it is the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or RSPB and only 45 minutes drive from home.

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