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42-47 COMMUNITY POOLS:SPN Master pages 12/9/08 22:30 Page 3
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THIRTYYEARSTORYOF
HIGHWORTHPOOLHAS
AHAPPYENDING
One community in Wiltshire has bucked the trend of closing pools with a
£1.1m refurbishment of a decaying, hardly used outdoor pool into a modern
indoor swimming and diving complex which is the only public pool of its type
in the county. But getting there has been a 30 year struggle - the last ten of
which have been plagued by disappointment and frustration.
Swimming Pool News reports on a community pool project with a happy ending
W
hen Highworth Recreation
Centre’s new swimming pool
opened officially on a cold
grey day in late August, there
were literally tears in the eyes of some of
those present.
It wasn’t surprising as for the last 30 plus
years the trustees had been trying to put a
roof on the county’s only public outdoor
swimming pool.
The efforts of the Wiltshire community
to turn a decaying, rarely used outdoor
pool into a modern indoor pool and diving
arena spanned years of fund raising, red
tape, disappointment, frustration and
often heartbreak.
The project, which has cost £1.1m took
15 months to complete.
Phil Baker Chairman of the pools’
executive committee said; “It’s been such
a battle and such a lot of effort. It’s a
cameo of what communities have to go
through to get what they want. But now
we have the most fantastic facility which
adds so much to the community all year
round it’s hard to imagine.“
The story is a long and inspirational one
for communities wanting to get a useable
quality indoor pool for all year round use – The long wait for an all-year pool ended temperatures before people came to the
for the benefits of residents. when the pool opened its doors to pool and in a 16 week season we had only
Theoriginsofthepooldatebackto swimmers who got the chance to 12 good days when everyone would use
shortlyaftertheSecondWorldWarwhen experience the new pool with heated the pool properly. It was a vicious circle.
fundswereavailable fora“Welcome poolside, under water lighting and 3m The pool was becoming less and less
Home“poolforreturning soldiers–funds high-diving platform as well as a 1m economic. We had an ageing pool plant
whichwereavailable butneverused.Infact springboard. room. So it was obvious – we needed a
itwasn’tuntil1968thatthepoolwasfirst Adds Phil Baker: “The pool was getting roof over the pool – the real efforts to get
builtbyresidentsandthecommunity itself. older and with our summers getting no the complex upgraded started in 1997
But it has always been clear that the better the pool wasn’t being used and was when funds started to be raised. A dozen
pool needed to be more appealing and getting in a worse and worse state. It local people even raised £5,000 by taking
offer year round facilities. needed three days of 72 degrees part in a sponsored triathlon.
Visit our website at www.swimmingpoolnews.co.uk
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OCTOBER 08 swimmingpoolnews 43
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