Wiltshire Council want to know your views
Alternatively, submit answers online by visiting:
The following is a sample of the SWP points which some, or all, could be used in a personal letter to Wiltshire Council to enclose with the Questionnaire which is currently available at Westbury Pool and the Library. If you do not wish to complete the Questionnaire but still wish to make your voice heard, then send your letter to:
The Director of Neighbourhood and Planning
As a Resident of Westbury (or wherever), I feel that:
- The pool enjoys good patronage from local schools and a large number of local people
- The Swimming Club is thriving
- The plan to site Leisure hubs in Trowbridge and Warminster will make Westbury Pool less viable
- If Westbury folk have to travel to these larger towns for leisure there is a high cost in carbon footprint
- Schools have a premium on their time and will not travel far for leisure given curriculum demands elsewhere and the cost of travel.
- Does your aim for indoor leisure facilities being within 20 minutes travel time refer to walking or cycling? If it is the car or public transport even, then the impact on carbon footprint is unacceptable
- Westbury Pool is accessible to many local people in a few minutes and has no car park; in this respect it could be labelled a ‘green pool’.
- Westbury, with high obesity levels surely needs enhanced leisure facilities
- Much is made of your mission statement ‘Where everybody matters’ but it seems that those in larger towns are the ones that matter
- Your public questionnaire was cleverly skewed to get the result you desire
- I feel betrayed by Wiltshire Council in these plans
Westbury Pool is only being offered Community Trust status for our pool from 2015/2017. This means we run it ourselves in the community. Wiltshire Council offer that the pool will first be put in good order and then will be supported by a diminishing grant from them for 5 years. We would all prefer that Wiltshire Council runs our pool forever but this is not an option. We are being sacrificed because Wiltshire wish to spend big money on Leisure hubs in Trowbridge, Warminster and Melksham. Environmentally it would make sense to keep all local pools in Wiltshire Council’s hands. The villages/small towns are being overlooked and Wiltshire Council are actually going to spend MORE on leisure! Some may think that if Community Trust is good for us it should be rolled out for all with massive savings for the Council and surely a great reduction in Council Tax for us all. We are told that Leisure facilities are not a statutory right and so theoretically the Council could opt to provide no leisure facilities at all!
Collect your questionnaire from the leisure facilities you use….Leighton or the Westbury Pool and hopefully the local library. We must tell WC what we think before they decide to do what they want to do!
Bob Lee, Chairman SaveWestburyPool ( these views may not coincide with members of the SaveWestburyPool Committee)…they are a personal view.
Please make every effort to attend our second public meeting on Monday 28 June 2010, Laverton Hall, Westbury 7pm. This meeting is called a Parish Meeting but is a meeting for you, users and lovers of our Westbury Pool; it is not a Parish Council meeting.
The meeting should only take about an hour of your valuable time and takes place in three parts:
1. A brief update on the progress of our campaign to keep our Victorian pool for future generations.
2. The results of our special study of the viability of Trust status for our pool v it being supported and funded by Wiltshire Council.
3. After your questions, we need you to VOTE for or against a Parish Poll to take place in Westbury at some future date on the motion: We the undersigned hereby declare that a Parish Poll and referendum be called within the Parish of Westbury on the basis of retaining Westbury Swimming Pool for future generations SUPPORTED BY AND FUNDED BY WILTSHIRE COUNCIL, where everybody matters.
Hope lots of you can make it.
There is an excellent window display showing some wonderful artefacts relating to Westbury Swimming Pool at the Westbury Visitor and Heritage Centre. The display has been done by Derek Whale and Tony Hannaford. It shows photographs of past club members and the pool when it had changing booths around the side, polo teams, certificates including a wonderful coloured one made out to Dorra Francis in 1906, a large reprint of an article from 1888 in the Wiltshire Times about the opening of the pool and other photographs and prints from newspapers. Derek has so much material that the display has overspilt into the centre itself. Do go in and see these and inspect the wooden pole with loop attached which was used to teach people to swim without the fear of sinking…wouldnt be allowed today with health and Safety paramount!
Do go and see an important part of Westbury’s history. Incidentally the Heritage Centre has been wonderfully supportive of our efforts to keep the pool and we are most appreciative.
The paper petition to save Westbury swimming pool has now been closed. It has reached a staggering 2250 signatures and will very soon be presented to Jane Scott, Leader of Wiltshire Council, by Cllr Mike Cuthbert-Murray. We feel that the sheer magnitude of numbers means this petition must have some political clout in Wiltshire. The Friends of Westbury Pool on Facebook will continue and has now reached a healthy 1507 friends. The Government petition is inactive until a new Government is formed but I will then be urging all to sign up to get a Government reply as Westbury Pool is nationally important being within an historic building and one of the oldest public pools.
Thanks are due to all the shops/clubs/pubs who encouraged their customers to sign up; you all did splendidly. We also, of course, thank all those that bothered to sign our petition.
The Area Board for Westbury met on Thursday 22 April at Matravers School 7pm. It was well attended with tables of all interested groups representing various Westbury groups and villages. Members of the public can ask questions of the officers., Cllr Russell Hawker chaired the meeting and I felt that the process was refreshingly democratic.
Sally Hendry, Westbury Community Area Manager, who also attended our Laverton Hall public meeting ,had produced a thorough report on the pros and cons of Westbury Swimming Pool starting within the historical context. Excellent tables showing a SWOT analysis of strengths /weaknesses/opportunities/threats and some matching of Westbury pool’s relevance to Wiltshire Council Cabinet leisure review methodology were given which gave Westbury Pool a favourable complexion I thought.
Actual figures were thin on the ground but the Management fee apportionment was shown to have decreased to £64,497.65 in year 09/10 and swim Usage figures for the past three years have gradually risen being 60792 in 2009 (52543 in 2007). Both of these were positive signals for the future of the pool.
Cllr Wheeler, portfolio holder for Leisure and Culture, WC , gave an introduction to progress and intimated that all pools would be surveyed. Apparently the survey report for Westbury Pool is on their desks but too early for assimilation and public release yet. Two members of the save Westbury Pool Group gave questions to Cll Wheeler and he gave fulsome replies. Some Town Councillors gave their impressions including mention that Westbury has not many facilities and recently lost their Community Hospital (this started with a quote saying there were too many hospitals in Wiltshire!). There was a strong wish that Westbury must not lose any more facilities; too often the poor relation in West Wiltshire and indeed Wiltshire itself. Chairman Russell Hawker finished by asking Cllr Wheeler if the public groundswell regarding the Westbury Pool would affect the Leisure Review findings…he replied in the affirmative and also reiterated that Westbury Pool was unlikely to be recommended for closure.
Lets see if these Area Boards are listened to by Wiltshire Council because the arguments are very strong for Westbury Pool to continue to serve local people for generations and the building and pool are ,of course , of NATIONAL interest.
If you wish to see Sally Hendry’s Report with the excellent charts of camparison please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
On the evening of Thursday 8th April 2010 our group held our first public meeting about the future of Westbury Swimming Pool. The meeting started at 7pm at the Laverton Hall. It was very encouraging to see about 150 persons present.
The Save Westbury Pool Committee all introduced themselves showing a complete cross section representing those that use the pool.
President of Save Westbury Pool, County Councillor Mike Cuthbert-Murray introduced the visiting speaker, Councillor Wheeler, who has the portfolio for Leisure and Culture on Wiltshire Council; he was accompanied by Robin Townsend, Wiltshire Head of Leisure.
Bob Lee, Chairman of the committee, gave the background of progress so far but started with a letter from George Laverton MBE grandson of the mill-owner WH Laverton who gifted the pool and the hall where the meeting was held, to the people of Westbury and surrounding villages. George reminded us that public swimming had taken place at the pool continuously for 123 years…the only pool in England to achieve such an outstanding record. He, of course, wished that the pool should remain for future generations. If it were to be closed it would be ‘gone and lost forever’ he said quoting from the song ‘My Darling Clementine’.
Westbury Lions presented the Committee with a donation of £200 to fight the campaign. Westbury Town Council had already donated £200 and use of the Laverton for our public meetings. Bob Lee mentioned the great response to the three petitions supporting the pool; now 1500 friends of the pool on facebook, just over 2000 signatures on the paper petition helped by local shops and the government petition (on hold until after the election) has 250 signatures.
Cllr Wheeler made it clear that no decisions had yet been made about pools in Wiltshire but that he noted the strength of feeling in the high turnout at the meeting and feedback to date. He has been leant upon by the Victorian Society and Save Britain’s Heritage in support of our pool. His statement that ‘IT WAS VERY UNLIKELY THAT WESTBURY POOL WILL CLOSE’ was greeted with cheers from the public but it later transpired that an option might be taking the pool into a Community Trust run by local people. This option was challenged by Bob Lee who asked if this meant that Wiltshire Council were abdicating their responsibility also Neil Tribick, Secretary of Westbury Swimming Club, said that community trusts for pools usually meant that the pool should be failing but Westbury Pool was thriving with high attendances. Neil also doubted that the business case for community ownership was weak as the small site limited options to create wealth to help in the running costs. Stephen Pyne, Chief Swimming Coach at the Swimming Club made the point that we are all paying council tax and do not wish to pay twice to run the pool. There was very strong scepticism at the meeting about a community run pool.
Cllr Wheeler fielded 10 questions from the public and this was followed by general questions to the committee after the visiting speaker had left.
A great number of new ideas flowed from this meeting and have been fed back to the committee and will inform them on forward strategy when they meet on 15th April and subsequent committee meetings.
The fight continues with a full study of what community trust ownership would entail, the Listed Status of the site to be decided and this valuable website to be great for communication of the arguments for our historic pool.
Download and read these newspaper articles:
Pool closure unlikely
Wiltshire Times – Friday 16th April
Public Meeting On Pool
The Warminster Journal – Friday 16th April
Overwhelming support for town pool
White Horse News – Thursday 15th April
Area Board Spotlight on Westbury Pool
Thursday 15th April
1. USE THE POOL MORE OFTEN
It has good attendances already but some could use it more or rediscover the beautiful Victorian pool in their midst.
2. SIGN THE WRITTEN PETITION TO WILTSHIRE COUNCIL
This can be found in many Westbury shops, the Heritage Centre and Post Offices at the Ham, Dilton Marsh and Bratton. The petition is already heading for 1500 signatories.
3. SIGN UP ON THE FACEBOOK FRIENDS OF WESTBURY POOL
This group already are heading close to 1500 friends but the more the merrier.
4. SIGN THE ONLINE PETITION TO THE GOVERNMENT
This petition is not related to the paper petition or the Facebook Friends but rather tackles the Government… so you can legitimately sign ALL THREE. You will find this petition at: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/savewestburypool/. This petition needs 500 signatories but is only halfway to date so get your friends to sign up please.
5. WRITE A LETTER TO THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF WILTSHIRE COUNCIL EXTOLLING THE VIRTUES OF WESTBURY SWIMMING POOL
The address is below:
Andrew Kerr, Chief Executive Wiltshire Council, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, Wiltshire BA14 8JN