Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex 1

Written submission by the General Secretary of Hertfordshire Amateur Swimming Association


  1.1  Hertfordshire Amateur Swimming Association is one of eight county associations within the Southern Counties Amateur Swimming Association district. The district has the largest membership of the Amateur Swimming Association. Hertfordshire is in the Eastern District of Sport England.

  1.2  An opportunity arose for a much needed 50 metre pool within the county/district, but owing to insufficient funding, with a shortfall of £2.7 million, through Sport England, the opportunity appears to have been missed.


  2.1  The University of \Hertfordshire, its campus based in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, is in the process of building a sporting facility budgeted at £16.7 million. It is to comprise sports fields and pitches, student accommodation, a sports and social club for the neighbourhood and a sports complex which will include catering facilities, sports halls, gym and fitness facilities, meeting and conference facilities and a swimming pool. Initially it was to be an eight lane 50 metre pool, with movable floor and boom, with full automatic officiating equipment, allowing it to be used for all aquatic sports, except diving.


  3.1  The site is located only 200 metres from the A1(M), 20 miles north of London and only a 10 minute drive from the M25 motorway. It is easily accessible from all parts of the capital, as well as the home counties and the Midlands.

  3.2  Public transport—rail links to both Hatfield station, to the east, and St Albans station to the west, serve the site and ensure easy access from central and south London and also from the north. Hatfield is also served by bus routes from Heathrow, Luton and Stansted airports.


  4.1  It is a well-known fact that, for swimmers to achieve international standards, gold medals and world records, regular training in 50 metre pools is essential. We are very fortunate within the county that we have World Class Potential athletes in competitive swimming, disabled swimming, diving, synchronised swimming and water polo.

  4.2  Our young athletes representing England or Scotland and/or Great Britain have difficult journeys to find adequate facilities to train in 50 metre pools. It is probably easier to get to Coventry than it is to get to Crystal Palace, but both pools require major refurbishment. The athletes and coaches are spending more time travelling than they are training—not a good recipe for gold medals.

  4.3  With the accommodation and other facilities available at Hatfield, it will be an ideal venue for training camps, not only at club level, but at all levels of the sport, saving vast sums of money currently spent travelling abroad to get suitable facilities.


  5.1  The building project has started at the University of Hertfordshire, but with only an eight lane 25 metre pool planned. It is scheduled for completion in June 2003. Those in charge of the scheme are talking with all interested parties to ensure that the complex is being built for the user as opposed to what the architects etc think is wanted. Although time is running out, it is still possible to alter the plans to make the facility more suitable to the needs of the sport by making it a 50 metre pool. All that is required, even at this late stage, would be an injection of £2.7 million.


  6.1  If London is ever to host a major aquatic sporting event in the future, additional facilities for the visitors will be required, within easy access of the capital, for training etc. A 50 metre pool at Hatfield, with its additional facilities, would be ideal as support.


  7.1  An additional commitment of £2.7 million will secure a 50 metre pool, within 20 miles of central London, in a good location, and make the really good facilities into superb facilities, supporting not only the county, but the district and the capital. An opportunity to achieve a 50 metre pool for such a small amount would be criminal to lose. Where else could a 50 metre pool be built for such a small sum?

  7.2  Please do not allow this opportunity to be lost.

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Prepared 15 January 2002