Memorandum submitted by Worcester County
ASPECT COVERED: SWIMMING FACILITIES
The Worcester County Swimming Association is
an affiliate of the Amateur Swimming Association and its area
of benefit is the area covered by the local authorities of Worcestershire
and Herefordshire and parts of the Metropolitan Districts of Dudley
and Sandwell. The area has a total population of 1.2 million.
Nineteen clubs are affiliated to the Association
and they have a combined membership of 7,000. The organisation
is run solely by volunteers, but on a professional basis.
The key objective of the association is to work
with clubs to promote the teaching and development of swimming,
diving, water polo, synchronised swimming and life saving and
to encourage County Championships and Competitions.
Furthermore this objective includes the stimulation
of public opinion in favour of providing proper accommodation
and facilities for its work.
It is an objective of the Amateur Swimming Association
to have at least one eight lane 25 metre swimming pool, with adequate
spectator accommodation in each county. This objective is fully
supported by the Worcester County Association.
The existing facilities in the area covered
by the County Association, particularly for competitive swimming,
are extremely poor. There is no 25 metre eight lane facility in
The most recent competitive pool to be built
in the area covered by the County Association was 30 years ago,
at Worcester. This is a six lane pool with a boom installed to
create a 25 metre facility. The spectator facilities are insufficient
to cater for major competition.
The facilities in the County are so poor that
most County Competitions have to be held outside the County, at
Wolverhampton. This entails a 40 mile trip each way for many of
Discusssions about facilities have been held
and continue with many of the District and Metropolitan authorities
but we have not been able to engage sufficient interest to get
proper competitive facilities built. Indeed in the last 20 years
leisure facilities have replaced competitive facilities in some
There is strong support for, and the possibility
of, an eight lane 25 metre pool being built by Redditch Borough
Council but this still has to be finalised.
Because Worcestershire has a two tier Local
Government structure there does not seem to appear to be a countywide
strategic plan in place between the authorities for swimming facilities.
It is not possible for a relatively small volunteer organisation
to undertake this planning. Indeed we believe such planning to
be the responsibility of local Government.
From the information we have so far it is not
clear that the shortly be set up Local Strategic Partnerships
will have as one of their early priorities the co-ordination of
sporting facilities. However, this new initiative could be used
through the planning and development of swimming facilities to
encourage and enhance community development.
We see the provision of good swimming pool facilities
as central to the well being of communities and the encouragement
of social inclusion. The large majority of our members are young
people below 18. Through our activities we not only offer the
opportunity for sporting achievement but the chance to build teams,
enhance life skills and develop community involvement.
1. The provision of improved swimming facilities
in Worcestershire including the provision of a 25 metre eight
lane competitive swimming pool.
2. The Department of Culture, Media and
Sport to encourage local authorities in the Worcester county area
to work together to plan swimming pool facilities on a countywide
3. Central Government, to encourage Local
Authorities through Local Strategic Partnerships to make the provision
of sporting facilities and particularly swimming pools central
to the discussions with and the positive involvement of communities.
28 November 2001