Advisors are asking for assurance that a well used and highly regarded Brighton swimming pool will not be closed.
They spoke out after Brighton and Hove City Council released their 2021-31 sports facilities investment plan.
The 24-page plan stated that “no new investments” were planned for the St Luke Pool, at St Luke’s Terrace, Brighton.
Its long-term future had to be “considered” in the context of investment plans which considered options, in particular “if the St Luke swimming pool is not selected”.
Union adviser Nick Childs said he and fellow union adviser Amanda Evans, both of whom represent the Queen’s Park neighborhood, would seek “urgent assurances” on the future of the pool.
The two men are both members of the Council’s Tourism, Equality, Communities and Culture (TECC) commission, which oversees sport and leisure policy.
Councilor Childs said: “I oppose any suggestion to close St Luke’s Swimming Bath and will campaign vigorously against such a proposal from the Green Administration to deprive residents of this magnificent listed facility.
“The pool is well used and appreciated in our community, including the children at St Luke’s school who are learning to swim there.
“Its closure would be an act of social vandalism which would be fought tooth and nail by the councilors of the Labor district.
“I will ask the Green Council for urgent assurances that in no case will the swimming pool be closed and that, also, future investments will be factored into the city’s leisure plans to ensure that the swimming pool is maintained to the highest standard. . “
The board’s plan indicated that St Luke’s “struggled to cope with modern usage patterns, poor accessibility and design constraints.” He added: “The associated service and maintenance costs are high.”
The plan indicated that a large sports facility serving the east of the city – currently served by the Prince Regent Swimming Complex – would have a 25-meter six-lane pool.
But if St Luke’s was closed, the plan was for the goal to be for the eastern area to have an eight-lane swimming pool.
The plan, however, was that retaining the St Luke Pool as a small community pool should be considered.
He recommended the “creation of three large multisport poles to serve the city”, adding that the location of these to the east and west was on “a site to be identified”.
They are currently served by the Prince Regent and King Alfred.
Only one site for the north was named – with a suggestion for “an increase in supply at the Withdean sports complex”.
A total of 1,474 people responded to a public consultation from November to January, with 18% – or 240 people – wanting the council to keep St Luke’s and improve it. Some 914 people – or 68.5% – did not express an opinion.
Tory councilor Dee Simson said: ‘It would be a shame to see St Luke’s go as it has been used for 60 years to teach thousands of children in Brighton to swim, including myself.
“The board’s plan is disappointing. If St Luke’s is forced to close, the council should look beyond the 25-meter pools and provide at least one 50-meter pool in the town to make up for that loss.
Green Councilor Martin Osborne, who co-chairs the TECC committee, said any decision regarding investments in sports facilities would be taken by a multi-stakeholder working group in due course.
He said: “Not only do we have a shortage of swimming pools in the city, but we know that St Luke’s is a widely used and highly regarded facility.
“There are no plans to close it and it is wrong that others are suggesting it.
“The regular maintenance program of all our sports facilities is already underway, in order to keep our venues in good condition.
“Consultants looking at the future of sports and recreation opportunities for our city have suggested an investment plan to meet our goals of creating more and better sports offerings.
“This is based on a hub and spoke model of expanded and improved facilities, supported by a network of locally accessible community recreation centers to meet the needs of residents.
“Several of our sports facilities would benefit from investments. Although the consultant’s report mentions that “no new investments are identified” for St Luke’s, these are the proposals resulting from the investment plan. St Luke’s is also in fairly good condition at the moment.
Members of the Council’s Policy and Resources Committee approved the sports facilities investment plan at Hove Town Hall on Thursday (July 1).
He proposed an eight-lane 25-meter competition pool to replace the King Alfred, calling it “essential” despite a long local campaign for a 50-meter pool.
The plan read, “The current demand for swimming pool water in the city exceeds supply.
“Any closure or loss of a facility will place significant pressure on the remaining facilities to be used for public and club swimming. “
The plan proposed to expand the gymnasium at the Withdean sports complex as well as the creation of a soft play area and a small 3G court.
He also asked for a new soft playground at the sports center of Portslade and an enlarged sports hall.
At the Moulsecoomb Community Recreation Center, the plan proposed a larger gymnasium, a new gymnastics area and a small 3G football field.
And at the Stanley Deason Recreation Center, the plan called for “the continued provision of outdoor hockey and football by replacing the field surfaces with sand and 3G artificial turf.”