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


Supplementary memorandum submitted by English Heritage


  Thank you for your letter of 4 December, seeking further comment on the issue of the extent to which swimming pools have suffered disproportionately in relation to other facilities from local authority spending cuts.

  I assume that the Committee refers to the conclusion in my evidence which states:

    "Collectively historic swimming pools represent a community resource and national heritage asset of enormous value. Like other civil buildings and spaces, swimming pools are an integral part of civilised and `liveable' cities. And yet these historic buildings form part of a broad picture of historic community facilities under threat. Public Park Assessment, a report jointly published by English Heritage and others in May 2001 demonstrates the serious decline of England's urban parks resulting from years of under-investment. The report found that, like swimming pools, parks of historic interest have disproportionately suffered from local authority spending cuts, resulting in widespread loss of features."

  The point we are making is about the relative vulnerability of pools of particular architectural or historic interest to local authority cuts, not swimming pools per se. The point is based on the broad evidence we have drawn together to date for the purposes of presenting evidence to the Committee, particularly in relation to those eleven pools already included on our Register of Buildings at Risk, or likely to be included in the future (see Appendix 2 of our evidence). As we have already stressed, such evidence, although relevant, provides an incomplete picture, given that we are not generally involved in grade II listed pools outside London, but only those listed at grade I or II*. A detailed survey of the state of all 79 listed swimming pools in England would be of considerable benefit to securing the fullest and clearest understanding of the extent and nature of the problem, but would require the co-operation of the relevant local planning authorities to be effective.

  I trust that this clarifies the position.

December 2001

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