Pool defended

PUBLISHED: 11:20 19 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:41 06 May 2010

SIR - I felt I had to respond to the letter from Mr Webster concerning the new Westminster Lodge Swimming Pool and Leisure Centre (Herts Advertiser, November 5). I am hoping it was just Mr Webster playing devil s advocate but I do worry some people may ta

SIR - I felt I had to respond to the letter from Mr Webster concerning the new Westminster Lodge Swimming Pool and Leisure Centre (Herts Advertiser, November 5). I am hoping it was just Mr Webster playing devil's advocate but I do worry some people may take his comments seriously.

Mr Webster believes the plan to be "very much second class". But you only have to look at the website of the architects, S & P, to see that they have a huge amount of experience in building top-class swimming pools around the country. In fact, they are also involved in the Aqua Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games, so there doesn't appear to be a problem with the quality.

Mr Webster also believes the pool to be a "glorified paddling pool". This is a 25m, eight-lane pool, with moveable floor from a depth of 2m, fully supported by the Amateur Swimming Association and is the regulation size for a short course competition pool. I suppose if the floor level was brought up to a foot or so, it could double for a paddling pool, though.

As far as his comments concerning club swimmers requiring a 50m pool for training, it is fairly well established that training needs to be spread between both lengths of pool rather than just the one length, to maximise different aerobic training. A 25m pool is more than adequate for club swimmers to train in.

Mr Webster states that the primary purpose for renewing this facility is the swimming pool and that is clearly not only being done but greatly improved upon, with the learner pool and water confidence area.

As for the other added facilities, badminton, gym and climbing wall, this only enhances the flexibility of the centre, and broadens its appeal to other members of the local community looking to keep fit and keep active.

One other point, the local swimming clubs, who currently use the pool, stage competitions to compete with other local sides and raise revenue for their clubs. But sadly they are restricted from using Westminster Lodge because the pool size is not a recognised competition length.

Hence in recent times, they have staged these at Hemel Hempstead and Hatfield University. So not only is all the incidental business going to other towns but it also means local swimmers having to be driven to other areas of the county rather than compete in their own city.

I believe we should be realistic and stop complaining for the sake of it. We are in danger of talking ourselves out of a great opportunity for the community to build a first class swimming pool and leisure facility, something St Albans can be proud of.

RICHARD LEES

St Albans

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