Herefordshire Council will not be reopening the LEA pool for the foreseeable future, the Hereford Heckler can reveal.
Discussing the issue at a council cabinet meeting on 20th November 2008, councillors took the decision that the Leisure pool currently used by Herefordshire schools was adequate for local needs.
In a press release issued on the day of the meeting council leader Roger Phillips said he welcomed “ideas for how the pool could be repaired and run”. There’s something worrying about a leader of the council not knowing how to repair and run a swimming pool isn’t there?! Here’s an idea, Roger, we give you the boot and use your wages and expenses to reopen the pool immediately!
Leaks in the pool were first noted in 2001 and they have been an on-going problem over the years, but repairs were clearly not sufficient.
The Heckler believe that as the maintenance costs continued to rise on what was a loss operating LEA pool, Herefordshire Council stopped carrying out repair works to the required standard with a view to selling off the pool wholesale to an outside agency.
In 2005 Herefordshire Council entered into talks with Halo to effectively privatise the LEA pool but an agreement was never reached as Halo deemed the pool in such a poor state that they wouldn’t take on full management because of the high costs potentially needed for repair work.
Now under part-management with Halo, leaks to the pool continued to be reported in 2006 and 2007.
In a document prepared for a recent council meeting, cabinet members were told: “The Sydonia pool in Leominster was in a similar situation to the current LEA swimming pool. The pool had reached the stage of being beyond economical repair and in this instance was a health hazard.” A health hazard that was created by Herefordshire Council themselves! Could the council be guilty of negligence for failing meet safety standards? There’s certainly a case for it.
Members were also told the LEA pool was initially closed because the boiler had failed and that the emergency lights might not be working properly. A normal person would call a plumber and an electrician. But why bother fixing these problems when you’re trying to shut the pool down.
And so the move to the Leisure pool began.
The council failed to investigate the effects the closure of the LEA pool would have on schools, community groups and the general public. They have also failed provide changing facilities that are suitably separate from the general public to ensure adequate safety for the children using the Leisure pool.
The council’s press release concluded: “Currently, school swimming lessons are provided for the majority of primary schools in clean and well-maintained pools in the county run by the council’s partner Halo.” What a *!@$!#@ joke!
Give Roger a call on the LEA pool complaint hotline: 07792 880019 (lines may be busy)