On Friday 28th August, a group of around 30 campaigners carrying banners and wearing swimming costumes occupied the Sedgemoor Splash pool in Somerset. The group staged the sit-in protest in an attempt to stop the closure and demolition of the pool, which the council claims is too expensive to run and would cost too much to repair.
This story sounds somewhat familiar, with the LEA Pool in Hereford being closed by the council last year on similar grounds. Many Herefordians learnt to swim in this pool, and it provided an important service to local schools. Since its closure schools have had to use the Leisure Pool for swimming lessons, with questions being raised concerning its safety and practicality.*
Consecutive Tory and Labour governments have been putting big business before the needs of people, resulting in many communities slowly being broken down. This has often manifested itself in the closure of things such as youth centres, schools, sports and leisure facilities, and post offices. Tesco is the only bidder for the Sedgemoor site, continuing their tradition of buying any available land to build even more supermarkets, and doing their bit to close all independent and localised services at the centres of once strong communities.
The protesters have been forced to leave the pool, after a court injunction was granted on Saturday. Despite the odds (and courts) being against them and for the time being , these campaigners have shown that people are at least willing to stand up and fight for local social and leisure facilities. There is still strength in community!
*For more stories about the closure of the LEA Pool, you can view issues 4, 5 & 6 of the Hereford Heckler.