PUBLISHED: 10:57 12 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:39 06 May 2010
SIR - In assisting the continuing debate on the new facility being proposed at Westminister Lodge, and as Chairman of CoStA swimming club I would like to clarify a few points: 1. Philip Webster (Herts Advertiser November 5) refers to the proposed facilit
SIR - In assisting the continuing debate on the new facility being proposed at Westminister Lodge, and as Chairman of CoStA swimming club I would like to clarify a few points:
1. Philip Webster (Herts Advertiser November 5) refers to the proposed facility as "a glorified paddling pool". A 50m pool would have been excessive - the shortage of 50m pools in the UK is being fully addressed by the most competent body in the UK - the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) and 50m pools are being proposed in locations very close to St Albans. An eight lane 25m pool is not a glorified paddling pool. It will support all short course (25m) galas. It is perhaps a pity that Mr Webster did not visit Manchester when it hosted the World Short Course Championships - a 25m pool with Olympic standard athletes competing.
2. A 25m pool has considerable advantages when training swimmers. CoStA had the privilege to benefit from the services of a former South African Olympic swimming coach who believed that a 50m facility whilst having a place in the training regime always suffers from the coach not being able to see the swimmers for the majority of the time that they are swimming in a lane. A 25m pool does not suffer this handicap.
3. Mr Webster refers to "a makeshift scheme which will be inadequate before it is even completed". The council have selected one of the leading architects in the country, S&P. Having used a number of their pools I have every confidence in their ability to provide St Albans with a first class facility. Mr Webster should take a look at their website - their record is very impressive - including an excellent 25m pool at Braintree in Essex.
4. Pools are expensive and need to be economically viable. By attracting other sports the facility will be of far greater value to St Albans, more cost efficient, and of greater benefit to more residents. Swimmers need land training facilities - gyms - so it makes perfect sense to base other sports in the same facility.
The climbing wall at the 50m Norwich pool takes up a minimal space and is highly entertaining to watch as a break from the swimming.
5. Cllr Burton and her team have done a first class job. It is always difficult and compromises are required by all parties, including CoStA. However the balance is right and the scheme is to be applauded.
Finally I would like to invite Philip Webster, on behalf of CoStA to attend a gala at a venue that does not have a cafe. It is absolutely crucial, particularly if you are there all day in support of children and need a break away from the intense atmosphere (and heat) of the pool!
CoStA Swimming Club
SIR - I read with increasing frustration the views of some people who claim to know what is best for St Albans regarding the redevelopment of the Westminster Lodge Swimming complex.
I wonder how many of these correspondents use the current swimming facilities, or would intend to use the new facilities, on a regular basis. Surely, they should be more willing to accept the views of Mr Lightowler, chairman of City of St Albans Swimming Club, rather than expressing their own uninformed views, or basing their arguments on their own childhood swimming experiences of 40 years ago.
The proposed new development is a vast improvement on the facilities currently available, and must be started immediately in order to provide the benefits to those who would use it.
Lincolns Close, St Albans