With the biggest 25 metre competition Pool in Hertfordshire it is fitting that hundreds of individuals and groups converge on St.Albans for this great fund raising charity event by Sport Relief.
Click on to register an entry or sponsor someone. PoolTooSmall's Andrew Butcher has only recently learnt to swim and you can sponsor him as he does 60 lengths.
Great stuff folks! And don't forget this Pool has the best Cathedral view on the Planet. 
Picture coming soon. See you there!
At a glittering occasion last night at University of Hertfordshire , the Herts Sports Partnership held their tenth Service to Sport Awards (2013).Forty different sports across Herts were represented and a fuller report will follow.The picture left shows St Albans' Mayor Cllr Annie Brewster with PoolTooSmall founder David Gilroy and his Lifetime Achievement award for services to sport in Hertfordshire  over nearly 40 years particularly in the fields of Rugby Union and swimming infrastructure development. For more of his exploits over the decades please click on 
Commenting on the night David said he was humbled and honoured to be successfully nominated by St.Albans RFC, the Hertfordshire Rugby Football Union and the many PoolTooSmall supporters across St.Albans and beyond. 
Remember a year ago at Westminster Lodge? Madame Mayor Cllr Eileen Harris opened the flagship £25 million leisure Centre on 10th November 2012 (left) and a grand day was had by all. And a year on New Lodge operator SLM trading under the brand Everyone Active  is opening it's doors for a range of special activities, offers and prizes starting 7th November 2013 . Needless to say PoolTooSmall will be there reporting it as it happens. So last night PoolTooSmall was at the first of the anniversary celebrations as one lucky lady won a £1000 hamper including a cheque for £300 (2nd right). The SLM management team lead by Contract Manager Steve Cox and General Manager Lesley Garner make a very smart line up. Over the coming days they will be giving away goodies, special offers and a mammoth £3.5k Superprize. All you have to do is get down there by noon on Saturday 9th November 2013 for a slice of the action.
See you then!

It has been nearly a year since opening but another “behind the scenes” facility  at the New Lodge has now been brought into use. It’s the Main Pool covers that will now cover the 21 metre wide by 12.5 metre long deep end every night until morning . It’s purpose is to save heat and money for all of us and obviously keep the water warmer.

The problem for the last year has been that the 10 diving platforms of the flagship pool at the deep end have impeded the roll out of 2 huge covers set on rollers on the eastern wall. The solution was during roll out to guide the heavy covers above the diving platforms then allow them into the water and proceeding 12.5 metres. This is accomplished using 10 specially made storable booms attached to wall clips  deployed by operating staff each night.

So how did it go last Friday night? Assistant Manager James Tovey told PoolTooSmall that it had gone well taking about 10 minutes for staff to deploy the 10 booms and 2 separate covers. But what about the 90 cm gap between the rollers? As each cover is rolled out it reveals an extra longitudinal sideflap that fills in the gap and no heat is wasted. So now you know.Special thanks to James for the pictures above.

Thanks to operator SLM and SADC for jointly funding the extra hardware. One more issue off the snagging list – we are getting there!


At a routine 2 hour “feedback” meeting between new Westminster  Lodge Leisure Centre (WLLC) operator SLM and PoolTooSmall on Tuesday 15th October 2013 , Contract Manager Steve Cox was rightly delighted to report 2 recent accolades for WLLC during it’s first year of operation.

The first in September  was to be nominated for the Newcomer of the Year category of the National Fitness Awards which recognises the achievement of gyms less than 2 years old. WLLC with its 180 place gym ,4 court sports hall and fitness studios was shortlisted for this prestigous honour. We will all find out the result in December 2013 – fingers crossed everyone!

The second accolade was WLLC being awarded the gold prize for the best mid-market health club in the Southeast.

The awards were held on 24 September 2013 at Leisure Industry Week, the biggest trade show event for the fitness industry. The Members Choice Health Club Awards are the only awards in the industry where winners are selected purely on the feedback from the people that use the facilities – the members.

 “We’d like to thank all the members at Westminster Lodge,” said Steve Cox. “We are very proud of the centre and all of our colleagues. It’s a great honour to be voted for by our members as the best centre in the region - we’re all extremely happy, and looking forward to continuing to provide such a valuable service to the people of St. Albans.”

SLM trading as Everyone Active was also awarded the gold prize for Best National Chain with over 30 clubs.


Here at PoolTooSmall we have long believed there is always room for improvement but also credit where it is due.

So congratulations on these 2 accolades and many more to come we hope!


Watch this space for other developments soon and this weekend beginning 18th October 2013 we say “take cover”!

What on earth are we going on about?

To find the answer click on  in a few days’ time. 1st APRIL 2014 -NEW LODGE MAIN POOL MAKES A SPLASH!

For the first time since opening in November 2012 , swimmers will be able to dive in to the New Lodge Main Pool during public sessions.Back then many swimmers were dismayed when they realised there were no 5metre, 3 metre and 1 metre diving boards . Then for health and safety reasons to do with operating a moveable floor all public diving in sessions were banned as well.
For the last year veteran Lodge swimmer Councillor Simon Grover  then later the PoolTooSmall team negotiated with the operator SLM to bring some form of diving in back to the Lodge.
Health and Safety is vital and we congratulate SLM's Contract Manager Steve Cox and his senior managers Lesley Garner and James Tovey  for driving through a plan , complete with signage , that meets all the regulations.Pictured above on site today we show the best Pool With a View on this planet,some made a splash and the Sun shone as well! Please note the new signage -diving in is from the deep end only (not the raised blocks) . On no account dive in from the 25 metre long sides or the "shallow" end  nearest the Learner Pool .
So safety first folks- any queries ask a lifeguard or reception - then enjoy! 
On 20th September 2013 SADC  issued a press release regarding the new London Colney Leisure Centre on
 Despite delays over the years ,we are pleased that the present Council led by Cllrs Julian Daly and structural engineer Cllr Mike Wakely have reached agreement with the other Council political parties on driving this £4.5 million project forward. Mercifully this time round there has not been a political war of attrition as there was with the New Lodge project. Cllrs Dreda Gordon and Jacob Quagliozzi have also had a considerable input and it appears that urgent attention is being given to a star London Colney attraction – the soft play area.
PoolTooSmall subsequently spoke to both Cllrs Daly and Wakely , a listening team who really want to get things right . They said they successfully did it for the New Lodge and would do the same here!
Completion is estimated for 2014 so bring it on folks! 
"Money is the root of all evil" rightly says SADC Portfolio Holder Cllr Mike Wakely as he grapples not only with the consequences of the Batchwood Centre fire reconstruction but now parting company with DCLM on the new London Colney Leisure Centre project.
More later .
We have been receiving reports and witnessing for ourselves excessive "music" levels at the New Lodge Main Pool site during lane swimming and swim fitness sessions since 8th August 2013. We have been working as a matter of urgency with the operator SLM to bring some sanity to the situation with some success.
PoolTooSmall have monitored the Main Pool loudspeakers during lane swimming sessions up to 14.00 hrs today Tuesday 27th August and they have been agreeably quiet - as they always used to be!
Thanks so far to SLM senior managers for listening to us then acting.
Happy holidays folks - the New Lodge Holiday programme finishes soon so enjoy it while it lasts.
Website link is below.

At last it is finished and SLM, SADC and Willmott Dixon can wind this epic saga up. It had to be done and now they have done it.

Thanks to SADC’s Jo Spinks and Ann Austin for regularly updating PoolTooSmall  supporters with info for this website.

Also thanks to SLM and Willmott Dixon's John Allworth and big Mike P over the whole replacement period.

For the latest on New Lodge operations click on the Everyone active website 

If in doubt phone the New Lodge on 01727 736080.

We are on the last knockings of this epic task with just tiles in ground floor Group Changing 1 and 2 to be completed.
Apart from this, all is now back to normal and the Summer holiday programme is in full swing.
Click on and follow the links there to see the latest news on the New lodge site. If in doubt phone the New Lodge on 01727 736080.   
A big safety improvement appeared overnight Monday 24th June 2013 under cover of the tile replacement programme. Main contractor Willmott Dixon ,supported by operator SLM and SADC installed 2 very substantial handrails either side of the steps on the gallery side. PoolTooSmall plus many elderly or disabled people had called for this since opening last year and at last they are here. You can't use them yet until Phase 6 of the tile replacement programme is completed around mid July 2013 but we can assure you they are working fine! It has taken a while but it is one major item off the snagging list. Well done all concerned!
Phase 6, the second part of main poolside and changing cubicles, is in delay and hopefully will be signed off by Monday 22nd July. Phase 7 began on Wednesday 10th July . This is the Spa and some remaining tiles in the ground floor pool store area- also expected to be complete by Monday 22nd July 2013.
The whole tile replacement programme is expected to be finished end July 2013. Not long to go now folks so please be prepared to be flexible - Willmott Dixon and operator SLM so far have done well here- please give them full cooperation ,thank you.
See latest detailed plans in New Lodge foyer now.
Click on and follow the links there to see the detailed online plans for the whole replacement project.
If in doubt phone the New Lodge on 01727 736080.   
Congratulations to the new Mayor Cllr Annie Brewster on assuming this historic office - picture left.Her finest hour for us at PoolTooSmall was joining with other councillors in putting the old 8 lane New Lodge proposal into the dustbin of history on the Scrutiny Committee of 2011 and reaffirming our massive commitment to our10 lane 175 place flagship pool.
Also on the up are more of our key supporters  Executive Leader Julian Daly who takes on the Planning portfolio together with Cllr Alec Campbell who joins the Cabinet.
On the slide yet again Cllr Robert Donald ( who was directly responsible for the formation of PoolTooSmall to oppose him) is no longer leader of his group and hands over to more of the same brush Cllr Anthony Rowlands . 
Good luck everyone!
Democracy in St.Albans is alive and kicking and we send our periodic message to all 58 elected Councillors on SADC .
You are there to serve us the Citizens of St.Albans not yourselves. Please listen to us and act on what we say or you will take the consequences. There are fresh District elections in May 2014 - step up to support YOUR City! 
The Learner and Confidence Pools  re-opened on Wednesday 15th May 2013.Well done Willmott Dixon , main contractor for a pretty seamless , quiet transition from the old tiles to the new ones. Good planning by WD and operator SLM meant that the removal of tiles is done by one contractor overnight and another replaces them with the new "legotiles " during the daytime - minimising disruption to customers.
The Main Pool shallow end  depth has reverted to 1.2 metres. The water temperature  is a very agreeable 29.9C - can the operator keep it that way please - nothing like listening to customers?
Phase 3 now begins with retiling of group changing rooms and surrounds. See plans in New Lodge foyer now.
Click on and follow the links there to see the detailed online plans for the whole replacement project.
If in doubt phone the New Lodge on 01727 736080. 
A 2 hour meeting between PoolTooSmall and SADC/SLM on 1st May 2013 at the Council offices was highly productive and we can report a substantial reduction in Main Pool blockouts.
More later. 
PoolTooSmall's leader and occasional photographer ( with his new camera)  was minding his own business ( as he always does) on his way to the New Westminster Lodge (NWL) for his daily half mile swim when he happened upon the flagship NWL's management in fancy dress - oh it's sporting gear. They are pictured here (left) making the W sign for Westminster Warriors ( a historic first ever picture) before doing battle in the first of their 11 games today in the SLM SE Region's Touch Rugby tournament. In the middle it looks like knobbly knees and shades of glamour against the background of the New Lodge Flagship on a glorious sunny day in our Cathedral City. And on the right it is called "stretching" - the lengths customer service will go to! And far right Jane and Lesley with St.Alban in the background watching it all! When our reporter left in the afternoon Regional Allstars and Watford were unbeaten after 6 games with Westminster Warriors third with one loss. It finished with Watford the winners with Westminster Warriors third. Sounds to us like Good Weather and Inspired SLM Organisation were the real winners- well done everyone!
The pressure is on to replace all the old floor tiles at the New lodge and we the Public are seeing the first results in the changing rooms opposite the Sports Hall. See the new tiles for yourself each with 64 bumps - clearly more grip and less slip!
We are still waiting for SADC , as promised, to send us pictures of the old and new tiles which we will then publish right here. Incidentally we hear that these new tiles are of a type used successfully at Harpenden Leisure Centre for 11 years.
Check the new tiles out this May Bank Holiday weekend and let us know what YOU think on our hotline as always
Remember with the Learner and Confidence Pools closed over the May Bank Holiday and all the following week be prepared for coloured wristbands in the Main Pool if, as is likely, demand is high in our Flagship Pool - the biggest 25 metre pool in Hertfordshire!
SADC/SLM tell us that Phase1highlighted below is nearly complete. Phase 1B now begins.The Learner and Confidence Pools are NOW CLOSED for 2 weeks until Monday 13th May 2013. In the Main Pool operating staff , well done managers and swimming teachers, have set out an intricate patchwork of ropes for the many different classes , schools , parents and baby plus public swimming. Please be prepared to be flexible as the Main is also handling all the Learner customers .
Thank goodness , customers said , for that excellent 10 LANE pool - take a bow everyone at PoolTooSmall and beyond!
If in doubt click on the website links below for the latest or telephone the New lodge direct on 01727 736080.
Following PoolTooSmall's meeting yesterday 1st May 2013 with SADC/SLM on aquatic and associated issues at the New Lodge we are hopeful that on site pictures of the new ( and old ) tiles will be available soon. We are literally getting a grip on things! 
It used to be the Old Lodge and now it's a 320 place car park next to the New Lodge. Their's not to reason why it's a contract so well delivered Willmott Dixon , main groundwork contractor Cooney and electrical experts Imtech. So it was the luck of the draw when our camera visited and giving the thumbs up can you see the familiar silhouettes of  2 of Cooney's stars Omar and Moods? And the final turfs are now in place thanks to JBW Landscapes of Rickmansworth - so now you know!
But remember the 3 hour free parking rule which we all fought for- we are not just aquatic campaigners. You MUST get a ticket from a machine if you can find one working and place inside on your windscreen, otherwise those NCP men in peaked caps will book and fine you .
Also please notice all the extra bike racks - so no excuse now for not getting warmed up on the way to the New Lodge.
We've reached the end of an era now going back to about 2004 and for our part the improvements we have made have been worth the effort.
What do you think?
Feedback as always on
As reported below we are on the case and in direct contact with SADC and New Lodge operator SLM to disseminate the latest information to you the end user . This work has to be done and it will be a long and complex business so our role here at PoolTooSmall is to ensure you get the latest information plus that bit extra. So your first port of call is the Everyone Active website on :-
This should lead you to the SADC press release on :-
There you can bring up the NINE phases of work from now until July - a huge amount of detail but for a good overview FAQ please click on:-
We are arranging a site visit soon and hope to bring you a report and pictures highlighting the new tiles compared to the old.
If you need to talk to someone then telephone the New Lodge operator direct on 01727 736080.
PHASE 1.From Monday 15th April to about 25th April tile replacement is in the dry changing village next to the long ground floor corridor leading to the Sports Hall.ALL 3 POOLS will be open.
PHASE 1B. From after about 29th April the Learner and Confidence Pools will be closed for about 3 weeks. This will put a lot of pressure on the Main Pool so please be prepared to be flexible and if in doubt check the links above or phone.
Our thanks to SADC Leisure's Ann Austin for keeping us updated - more next week - have a great weekend!
The flagship £25 Million New Lodge Leisure Centre is no stranger to publicity and it's operator SLM had a real life drama on their hands as someone broke the glass of a fire alarm point at about 1320 BST today . The fire service were immediately called - a unit from Hemel Hempstead (picture) arriving some minutes later.Taking command of the ensuing fire procedure SLM Operations Manager TJ supported by his departmental staff evacuated all public areas.This involved several hundred customers ,men, women and children who were in the Sports Hall, Spa , Café/Bistro, climbing wall,Gym and 3 swimming pools. Some , from the Gym were unfortunate to be placed outside where it was snowing- air temperature 1C for a short while as 4 firemen checked out the building declaring it clear at about 1350 BST. There was no panic, everyone was fairly good humoured - safety is paramount, and all's well that ends well. We believe the cause was "school holiday mischief"  and no one so far has been apprehended . CCTV could be interesting however .
So well managed everybody including SLM's TJ and team ,the fire service and of course us the customers and PoolTooSmall supporters. 
The 2 pictures on the left were taken by PoolTooSmall's leader David Gilroy and the one on the right by former Dutch U-21 water polo international Chris H as the drama unfolded. Well done Chris for emailing us - if there are any more of you with pics out there will you kindly send them in to our hotline
It does leave one question unanswered.
" We thought St.Albans has a fire station of it's own - so how come a unit had to come from Hemel Hempstead?"
It has been clear to everyone involved with the New Lodge that since opening on 10th November 2012 , the floor tiles surrounding the 3 pools and those in the nearby changing areas have been a safety source of concern. After extensive testing by SADC,Willmott Dixon and operator SLM , the decision has rightly been taken to replace the lot. Health and safety are paramount so ripping up the several thousand  old tiles and replacing them with a better product will take a lot of planning and patience all round. This we are assured will be at NO cost to SADC and therefore to us the New Lodge users or the residents and Council Tax payers of St.Albans. So well done SADC/ operator SLM and Willmott Dixon  for being sharp off the mark with a detailed 8 phase plan of action which went on display in the New Lodge foyer (pictures left) this afternoon Thursday 21st March 2013. For further information from SADC please click on their website at :-
The first key date to remember is Monday 15th April when the Learner and Confidence Pools will be closed for about 3 weeks.This will test the 10 lane Main Pool with it's moveable floor to the limit . Good luck everyone- more later.
Please tune in to SLM / Everyone Active website for the New Lodge on :- for the latest situation or for our unique take on it all we are here as always on
As reported earlier on New Lodge operator SLM and SADC are continuing to develop the various swimming pool programmes and we are pleased to see that SLM on their website have now published new Main and Learner Pool timetables effective from 1st April 2013. There are still too many blockouts on the face of these latest timetables so we are publishing soon a second blockout report which will be sent to SADC ,SLM and other interested parties.
We stress that our sole purpose in doing this is to maximise these magnificent pool resources for the benefit of all of us the end users and ensure there is no waste. This is work in progress and between us we will get there! Watch this space for more soon. 
Thank you to all PoolTooSmall supporters that responded to  our earlier plea below to go the extra mile and help pressure group Strife get over the vital  petition 10 thousand mark to ensure further debate on this major environmental issue. If you can make it PLEASE attend next Tuesday's County Council meeting at County Hall , Hertford beginning at 10.30 am . Support Strife's presentation which will then be debated and voted on by full Council. Essentially they call on Council to retain ownership of the Radlett site and not sell or lease it for this environmental monstrosity.
As PoolTooSmall knows from it's own successes in the SADC Council chamber these last 3 years democracy is only as good as us individual voters who put elected Councillors there in the first place. Our advice to Herts County Council is LISTEN to the people as exemplified by this excellent Strife petition and say NO to the developers. It's as simple as that.
Not quite Aquatics or Leisure but nevertheless of major significance to the environment of St.Albans may we commend to you to sign the Petition below against what can only be described as an environmental monstrosity.The big company, Helioslough, is planning to build a giant rail freight depot on the A414 on the outskirts of St Albans. The company say that this will mean up to 1,500 lorries coming onto the roads in and around St Albans every day. The statistics suggest that there will be a lot more than that. The internet site says:-
"The scheme could see a development of 5 units ranging from 480,000sq ft to 1.2million sq ft. The proposed development will total 3.5m sq ft. There will be 2,652 car parking spaces and 617 lorry parking spaces".
Helioslough currently run Slough Trading Estate as well as a lot of other commercial properties.
Apparently the main building that they have got planned for St Albans is going to be 6 times bigger than St Albans Cathedral !!!
A lot of figures are being thrown around, but one thing is certain and that is that once it is established, it is not going to get any smaller.
After being rejected several times, the scheme has been passed by the secretary of state, Eric Pickles, and now it is just down to Hertfordshire County Council to approve it.
Please take just a few minutes, if you haven’t already , to exercise your democratic right and oppose this development and get further debate. Please click on :-

before it’s too late -31 March 2013.

Thank you.


Democracy is alive and kicking here in St.Albans as on Tuesday next Councillors have by law to vote on a budget and all that entails including New Lodge car parking charging ( or hopefully the lack of it).
The best kind of democracy is when ALL the elected councillors have their sixpennorth and between them get an agreement , issue by issue, unlike some of the “elected dictatorships” we have witnessed in recent years. With an overall majority of zero in the Council Chamber , Executive Leader Cllr Julian Daly is listening to us all and showing pragmatism as modifications are made to the annual SADC budget by the various opposition groups. In the Hertsad of February 21st 2013 on page 14 and on , reporter Madeleine Burton points to how things are running ahead of the crunch full Council meeting next Tuesday 26th February 2013. It is likely all the modifications made last time will be upheld and new borrowing will find the money not raised by earlier proposals. So , not pre-empting due process , there will be NO charge for the first 3 hours of car parking at the New Lodge – pictured here today being re-developed by Willmott Dixon. So let’s be thankful for democracy and congratulate our local group leaders Cllrs Daly , Donald , Leach and Grover and their teams, for LISTENING then ACTING on what we the people require.
The agenda for next week’s Council meeting is on
To watch the live webcast of next week’s meeting please click on :-
Have a great 6 Nations Rugby Union weekend!
Just appearing to go on display at the New Lodge yesterday ,latest facts and figures for the new car park currently under construction.
See our earlier reports below but in summary completion end of March 2013 with 320 car spaces set out as shown in the notice on the left. But PLEASE be warned that as reported in the Hertsad last week 7th March , traffic wardens are on duty doing what they do best. So if you are using the car park now , make sure you are legal . Or you will pay the price. Remember to park legally and get a ticket from a machine ( if you can find one working ) that gives you 3 hours free parking.
Following our major blockout report of January 2013 , we received an email from the SADC Leisure Officer on 8th February 2013.
The good news so far is that the Sunday afternoon Private/Party hire bookings will cease soon and we believe an extra one and a half hours of Public swimming will now be available to all of us! The devil is always in the detail but we are encouraged that Everyone Active on their website is now publishing it's holiday programme starting Monday 18th February 2013 .
Click on We remind everyone that this is "work in progress" by SADC and operator SLM and starting with 16 blockouts in January we are down to 14 now but hopefully reductions in the pipeline soon.
Critical to the success of our campaign for a better New Lodge specification was our website on and the mastermind behind it.
The man in question was the 3rd founder of PoolTooSmall one Michael M , IT expert and regular Lodge lane swimmer for many years . He had been researching why the New Lodge Main Pool was only going to have 8 lanes and was as unhappy as we were. In early February 2010 movement founders David and Ingrid Gilroy by chance met him in the Old Lodge foyer as we were going in and he was coming out. We were struggling , we said, to get our message across and build our membership up. What you need is a website he said – I won’t promise but I will see what I can do. And from nothing in 8 days Michael registered a domain and built a website he appropriately called PoolTooSmall on and we never looked back. Please click on an early entry below:-
complete with the famous original placard designed by Ingrid Gilroy. All this signalled the beginning of the end for the Old Council who refused to listen to us and heed our expert demand forecast logic and they rightly paid the price in May 2011 District elections.
Our website today continues to enjoy several hundred hits per month from the construction industry , leisure industry , councillors, officers and
our loyal supporters at home and abroad . Although the battle for a larger Main Pool has been won – we are staying in business to iron out the inevitable operational wrinkles at the New Lodge and to monitor aquatic / leisure developments in the City and District of St.Albans in the longer term .
So a big big thank you to Michael M – a quiet man who delivers the goods for us from cyberspace , all of us in St.Albans especially swimmers of all ages owe you a large debt of gratitude.
As always please tell us what you think on here for you 24/7/365.
Demolition experts Tilley and Barrett have after 2 months completed the demolition of the Old Lodge and it's now back to Main Contractor Willmott Dixon and their sub- contractors Cooney and Imtech to landscape and complete the extra car parking complete with security cameras. The saga of the " 3 hours free car parking" is STILL to be debated by full Council on 26th February 2013.
Please click on the latest SADC Press release here :-
This website is not just a focus for the residents and end users to see what is going on - it is also something of a historical record.
Talking to industry experts it appears that the Old Lodge built in 1971 was made of exceptionally stubborn reinforced concrete.
Coming soon in pictures we can see why.
Following the amendments passed by full Council on 30th January 2013 , the Executive Leadership of SADC have until 17.15 hrs today Friday 8th February 2013 to decide what to do next . More info on the SADC website Press Release on :-
No public announcement so far as at 20.30 on Friday 8th February but we understand that the Executive of SADC is bringing back the amendments passed so far to another full Council on 26th February 2013. You can monitor the agenda/proceedings for that meeting on Apparently the ruling body of SADC believe that the implications of the recent amendments need to be discussed further.
PoolTooSmall comments.
We live in a democracy and we all can have a say on the issues raised like the car parking at the New Lodge. If you so wish why not email the Executive Leader on and tell him what YOU think.
Which Prime Minister extolled "The Pound in You Pocket".
It was Harold MacMillan.
We are as always on site and on the case up on the Hill as events unfolded at full Council meeting 30th January 2013 voting on the budget. Contrary to earlier Press reports at end-January 2013 , full Council debated various amendments to the budget proposed by the ruling group led by Cllr Julian Daly . However no one else agreed with them "taxing fitness " and the other groups led by Cllrs Donald, Leach and Grover voted successfully an amendment that the 3 hour free parking at Westminster Lodge was to remain in place. So in case anyone is in any doubt , democracy is alive and kicking in St.Albans. You can see the whole of Council's agenda for 30th January on
The associated webcast ,all 3 and a half hours of it, is on
Here at PoolTooSmall we are delighted because if this emotive move, which was estimated to only raise £78k per annum, had gone through it would have unfairly penalised operator SLM and their sales operation , SLM and other staff who work there and of course us the end user including many pensioners and people on low incomes. Which does not mean that you should continue to roll up in a car - you can do as PoolTooSmall's leader does and do it by mountain bike - see picture. Remember bikes also park free at the New Lodge and the shiny new racks are so close to the New Lodge entrance that you'll be in the swim in no time!
Disclaimer. PoolTooSmall is not affilliated to any political party and never will be. We report and campaign without fear or favour on aquatic and leisure issues in St.Albans . That's the way it is.
We are here for you as ever on 24/7/365.
We simply could not believe the email received by PoolTooSmall this evening Sunday 27th January 2013 that already our magnificent 175 place New Lodge Main Pool appears to be in overload. It's only been open 2 months and apparently operator SLM is struggling to meet popular demand today as they turn back the clock 50 years and more for some of us . A local resident , a grandmother and her family went to the New Lodge today and were horrified by the service they received . At this stage we can only report her actual words to us on our hotline as follows:-
"Been to the lovely "private" pool this morning was told to wear coloured wristbands that changed every hour in order to ensure you only had one hour in the pool. Calls were made for "those wearing .... colour to exit the pool" - not good enough! Wasn't even full either. First lane was closed even though no one using it.Went with grandchildren for fun & then wanted to do my own lane swim, just not long enough!!! Will go to Harpenden next time!!! Great pool if you're allowed to use it but "private" element takes over !!!
Thought it was supposed to be a pool for the residents".
PoolTooSmall comments. As you can see on our website in the last 2 months we are falling over backwards to give the new operator SLM the benefit of the doubt as regards it's overall management of the new Centre. Yes - teething troubles of the infrastructure we can tolerate but we are seriously concerned at this new operational development . Are we being told that with 40 - 50 years of the New Lodge still to run that we didn't build the Main Pool big enough?
PoolTooSmall is on the case 24/7/365 - if it matters to you as a resident it matters to us. Watch this space!.
Baby it's cold outside - so goes the song but a picturesque Verulamiam Park on Mud Lane offers you a warm welcome at the New Lodge where they are fully open for business 7 days a week. Sales are up as is traditional in January in the 200 place gym but don't forget the 3 pools , sports hall , cafe , spa , creche and the rest as they grit the paths and Mud Lane for you to stroll in. Opposite the New Lodge , demolition experts Tilley and Barrett have 5 heavy units in place to level the old site ready for more car parking - finished in February 2013? With 5 inches of snow on site , a short week for T&B last Friday and Monday but not for the New Lodge where you can still chill out - inside or out. Separate demolition special in pictures on this website soon.
As reported on 3rd January 2013, New Lodge Main Pool blockout is an ongoing issue and as always we are on the case whatever the weather on site - see picture left. A snap report by PoolTooSmall has been sent to SADC Leisure Portfolio Holder Cllr Mike Wakely with some disturbing findings and a call for early remedial action. Our findings are that in the current Main Pool timetables there are 16 distinct blockouts in termtime and 17 in the holiday timetables. Too many of them are totally unjustified by the takeup numbers of the Main Pool since opening in November 2012. Because of this we believe our magnificent new flagship is turning away customers and income! So be warned - on the face of it you may be turned away from the Main Pool on the following days and times in termtime.
TUESDAYS. 10.30AM-11.00AM 50+ 3PM-3.30PM SCHOOL SWIM
8.00PM-10.00PM NOTHING
Since receipt of our full report yesterday both Portfolio Holder Cllr Mike Wakely and Head of Leisure Richard Shwe have both assured us that a report is in progress and we will be invited to discuss the issues we have raised. In fairness to operator SLM who publish the timetables, many of the blockouts appear to be at the insistence of SADC who rightly wish to protect certain groups ie Salmon Club , certain schools, 50+ etc . Time to address each issue , look at the numbers and special factors and hopefully eliminate most of the blockouts by smart management all round.
Happy New Year ,readers, we are as always on the case.
What's going on? So was asked a former PM .
I'm going on , he said.
It was Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
So now you know.
Please give us your feedback as ever on here for you 24/7/365.
The Herts Advertiser front page today 3rd January 2013 on carries a report of a booking and communications messup at the new £25 million Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre which resulted in the Public being turned away due to a private booking . Acknowledment to the Hertsad for the picture on the left. Blockout , when a group or groups take up the whole resource, has been a concern of PoolTooSmall since opening on 10th November 2012. So much so that we met with the SADC Executive Leader and Head of Leisure in December 2012 to air our concerns . Neither the present Council, PoolTooSmall and others spent 3 years fighting for our magnificent 175 place 10 lane Main Pool to see it not being used efficiently. PoolTooSmall spoke today to SADC Executive Leader Cllr Julian Daly on the blockout issue , which is still prevalent in the latest online timetables on and he will address the issue. If you have been turned away from swimming at the New Lodge since it opened on 10 November 2012 then tell the SLM manager or the Council or us on . Between us we will do our best to solve the blockout issues! More later.
2012 has been a momentous year for this Country with the London Olympics, the Royal Jubilee and closer to home the opening of the New Westminster Lodge in Verulamium Park. Here at PoolTooSmall we are proud of our contribution to this vast local Project over the last 3 years. But if we had to take just one image that impresses it would be this one , a view from outside the North East corner of the 10 lane pool looking towards our magnificent Cathedral Church dedicated to Saint Alban . That is more or less the view you get as you swim in Lanes 9 and 10 at the deep end. Described by customers as “beautiful, breathtaking and magnificent” this is our Jewel in the New Lodge Crown. Just as good are views from the Gym and Main Pool Gallery. So if you haven’t already , please give it a go this Christmastide. Say hello to Alison, TJ and the SLM team , swim in the biggest 25 metre pool in Hertfordshire (with it’s glorious view) then chill out in the Spa or the Cafe/Bistro. The new centre has been 8 years in the making and we are all ironing out the inevitable wrinkles now that we are operational. And as the year 2012 ends let’s congratulate Cllr Julian Daly the Executive Leader of SADC , councillors and officers, Willmott Dixon , a myriad of subcontractors, PoolTooSmall’s many supporters and operator SLM for listening to then delivering to us the people.
Happy Christmas – PoolTooSmall’s New Year Message will follow later- guess when!
STOP PRESS. The New Lodge is closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day so click on the Everyone Active website for all the holiday details and how YOU can get fitter in 2013 on
On 3rd December 2009 St. Albans resident and Lodge lane swimmer David Gilroy picked up an expensive glossy leaflet issued by SADC proclaiming “New Westminster Lodge Gets Go-Ahead”. The then Leisure Portfolio Holder Cllr Sheila Burton appeared to be crowing about a 25 metre pool and complex being a done deal when it didn’t even have planning permission! It sparked a furore among residents, Lodge users and opposition Councillors who had already seen the St.Albans Diving Club given notice there would be no diving facilities at the new centre.
On 11th December 2009 David emailed the SADC Project Manager quote:-
”It is regarding the size of the new Main Pool .I can see from various pages online that a decision was made as long ago as 2006 to have a 25 metre length pool with 8 x 2 metre lanes. Will you kindly forward to me as a matter of urgency the detailed rationale behind this key decision .I expect there has been a highly professional analysis including operational data/growth forecasts etc to support this key decision and this is what I want to inspect “.(The PMP Report’s recommendation was totally flawed).
David’s wife Ingrid asked :- “Never mind percentages and square metres how many extra places will there be in the new 8 lane Pool?” Answer “9 extra people”. Ingrid commented “ How stupid and shortsighted– our expanding family alone could fill those 9 extra spaces never mind the rest of the City’s population especially given the current and planned house building in the District over the next 4 or 5 decades!
Joining us on site and by email was lane swimming IT expert Michael M who began his own research into what was going on. He became the third founder of our Campaign group with no name at the time . It was he that in February 2010 volunteered to set up a website for us which he accomplished miraculously in just 8 days and which he called PoolTooSmall on alive and kicking to this day!
It was the beginning of the end for the old intransigent council that had ruled the roost for 20 years who had stopped listening to the Electorate generally and Lodge users in particular.
It started our successful campaign for a larger Main Pool and effectively the saving of the Abbey Theatre’s future development for the next half a century.
The Press and websites like PoolTooSmall's are the cornerstone of our democracy and without fear or favour attempt to change things for the better.
Happy Christmas - we will be back in the New Year of 2013 still changing things for the better , be assured.
On the left you see a snap of Verulamium Park in 2009 and all those lovely trees by Mud Lane. Climbing one of them somewhat in a hurry is the then Leader of St. Albans District Council pursued by a harmless puppy owned by an Old Lodge lane swimmer. What actually happened in December 2009 that started the movement known as PoolTooSmall that has left a lasting political and physical legacy in St.Albans for decades to come ?
Coming here soon the actual key moments that spelt the beginning of the end for a 20 year political regime , the change of the New Lodge specification for the better and the safeguarding of the Abbey Theatre's future development for the next half a century.We call it democracy in action.
After only 41 years the Old Lodge is being demolished by Willmott Dixon and their subcontractor Tilley and Barrett. First to go sadly on Monday 3rd were 2 perfectly healthy trees on the south east corner by the old creche. On the north west side the flumes came down assisted by a 60 ton scissor crane over 2 days after the essential asbestos tests and clearance – health and safety is paramount. The rest of the Old Lodge will come down continuing next week whilst, alongside it all , groundworks sub contractor Cooney is constructing the edge of the new car park by Mud Lane.
In other news on site on Friday 6th the New Lodge learner pool was closed until Noon due to lifeguard shortage and some School swimming lessons were affected. The 10 lane Main Pool with its moveable floor on half it’s area was able to handle some of the extra load . Let’s put it down to teething troubles!
We can report good news on the Main Pool cloudy water saga reported earlier, that by Friday 6th the water clarity was excellent after apparently a “long technical” investigation.
And finally SMILE . A Council spokesman told PoolTooSmall that “Rome wasn’t built in a day” . To which one of our members said “I wouldn’t know – I wasn’t on that job”!
Customers arriving today after 1050 hrs until 1400 hrs will have found the Main Pool closed due to "cloudy water".
Managers closed the Pool after lifeguards had difficulty seeing the bottom of the Pool due to “cloudy water”. For obvious health and safety reasons , a School lesson was terminated after 20 minutes instead of 30 and a subsequent class could not be run because the Learner Pool alone could not take the large number of children. Nevertheless the Learner Pool ,measuring 17 metres by 10 metres did handle “abridged” lane swimming for all until 1330 hrs and then a mix of school lesson and general swimming until 1400 hrs when the Main Pool opened again still with slightly cloudy water. Instead of using the underwater tv system with monitors at each lifeguard chair , lifeguards were instead stationed at each corner of the Pool to keep watch the old fashioned way!
So steady as she goes – it’s all part of the learning curve. One theory is that there was excessive air in the pumping system rather than chemical imbalance so doubtless investigations will continue.
You get it first as always on
Feedback as you wish on
New Lodge customers arrived at the New Lodge today Friday 23rd November 2012 to find all 3 pools closed whilst emergency work was done to make poolside tiles
more slip- resistant.New Lodge operator SLM and SADC got their act together with announcements on both their websites respectively – links below

Newsflash: We are treating the tiles in the pool areas at Westminster Lodge to make them more slip-resistant. This is taking slightly longer than first anticipated but we will be reopening as normal on Saturday morning.We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience this may have caused. Meanwhile, although the swimming pools are closed today, the rest of the leisure centre is open as usual. reports

“The tiles in the pool areas at Westminster Lodge leisure centre are being treated to make them more slip-resistant. The pools are expected to open as normal on Saturday morning. We apologise to pool users for any inconvenience this may have caused. Meanwhile, the rest of the leisure centre is open as usual.”
SADC Press Officer Claire Wainwright told PoolTooSmall that contractors worked through last night Thursday/Friday 22/23rd. The tiles first have to be dried before they are treated .
PoolTooSmall comments. Health and Safety are paramount and this was an issue of high priority . As we have said already on this website ,there will be teething problems and better to sort this one sooner rather than later.
ADVICE. We understand that the operator is texting their registered customers, who have mobile telephones , with information. We advise if you plan to swim at the New Lodge tomorrow Saturday 24th , please check the websites above and/or telephone the New Lodge on 01727 736 080.
And what a momentous week it has been as the world and his wife tried out the £25million New Lodge at the junction of Holywell Hill and Mud Lane also known as Verulamium Park.
On Wednesday evening 14th November in the Council Chamber at Cabinet, Executive Leader Cllr Julian Daly thanked Head of Leisure Richard Shwe and the team for the Westminster Lodge opening- the contractors ,builders,operators and multiple parties. Portfolio Holder Cllr Mike Wakely said it was “Fantastic - Olympic Pool width .We asked what a lot of people indicated was impossible and the team delivered . Thank you to everyone involved”. Cllr Daly said that this should be taken as formal thanks to be fed back to external folk like Willmott Dixon.
Please click on ttp:// and go to just one minute in to see and hear the actual webcast.
The local Press reported the New Lodge opening day 10th November 2012. The Review on , gave a rather sparse offering on page 6 of their 14th November edition.
The Hertsad on in their 15th November edition had nearly 2 pages of news and pictures on pages 14 and 15 plus on page 12 a letter from a gentleman not happy with the Main Pool timetable- our advice later.
The first published reaction to operations at the New lodge emerged on Tuesday 13th November when regular Lodge lane swimmer Cllr Simon Grover handed down his judgement so far on . He highlighted that it was clean, teething problems with the spa and lane swimming arrangements and he carries a somewhat misleading picture of the New Lodge with a white hoarding and a lot of builders rubbish in the foreground. Let us all be clear about the hoarding and the rubbish. That is the responsibility of SADC and their main contractor Willmott Dixon under the next phase (Old Lodge demolition) of the overall contract – NOT the New Lodge operator SLM.
So what do we think one week on from opening? We have witnessed the birth of a new baby that has had an 8 year gestation period and overall it is so far so good with some expected teething problems. A remarkable achievement by SLM to get the staff and systems up and running having only had the centre signed over to them the day before opening! Feedback to us on the ground has been very positive – “beautiful ,nice and clean through to worries about slippery floors, the Main Pool timetable and higher cost for some memberships”. It’s early days yet. Next, let us be clear in our advice to you if you have a concern with any aspect of the New Lodge , please do as Cllr Grover is going to do and contact the operator SLM. They will address the concern and under the 10 year contract, SADC will monitor overall operations and act as appropriate. There are several ways to contact SLM :-
1) on site they have a “what do you think “ terminal for customers to use
2) telephone them on 01727 736080- they have a menu system to get you to the right department ie gym, cafe/bistro ,manager etc
3) email the manager on
4) go on their website and follow their links.
The Press and websites like PoolTooSmall are the cornerstones of our democracy. PoolTooSmall will continue to monitor and report as we follow the last phases of the overall New Lodge project including the demolition of the Old Lodge , construction of the car park in it’s place and final landscaping of the site. PoolTooSmall is seen as an ambassador for the New Lodge so if you haven’t already, please get down there for a great new experience in St.Albans. And there is a Jewel in the New Lodge Crown – the views of the Cathedral from the Gym and especially lanes 9 and 10 of the Main Pool!
We are here 24/7 as always on
Congratulations to New lodge operator SLM, St . Albans District Council and main contractor Willmott Dixon for delivering the goods to us the people today . Two of PoolTooSmall's co-founders David and Ingrid Gilroy arrived somewhat after Noon as the 7 hour opening marathon was in full swing. At 10am St.Albans Mayor Cllr Eileen Harris, accompanied by Council leader Cllr Julian Daly and a sizeable band of key players in the New Lodge project , declared the £25million Centre open picture And what a great day it was as new operator SLM
showed considerable planning and front line muscle to mount the biggest sales/demo day on the Lodge site in anyone's memory.They drafted in over 200 of their staff from other sites they operate all over the country for an opportunity not to be missed. On the Saturday they admitted 5997 people and the total for the weekend was about 8000! The buzz was fantastic, the sales teams beavered away and we all had a crack at everything. Kid's entertainers, Team GB, Saracens Rugby ,a very popular climbing wall, huge 200 station gym, the Spa enticing punters to a place of luxury, the vast Sports Hall, the cafe/bistro doing a good trade and yes there was the 10 lane Main Pool, the Learner Pool and the Confidence Pool. Click on the following link for more pictures under On site Action
Feedback from operating staff and customers alike was unanimous that the 10 lane Main Pool gives everyone not just more flexibility and choice but critically ensures there should be no Main Pool holiday/random overload problems for decades to come. In short the PoolTooSmall campaign of the last 3 years has been totally vindicated - we now have a precious resource , sadly without diving boards, that should be managed efficiently for the public good. We look forward to a good dialogue with SLM as the real work starts on Monday 12th November 2012. Time to look at all the timetables and refine them but most of all listen to the people that pay all your wages and put councillors in office - us, the citizens of our great Cathedral City of St.Albans.
So finally, good luck to New Lodge manager Alison Norman as she takes the helm of this £25million flagship but spare a thought for the myriad of unsung heroes behind the scenes who have worked hard and long to deliver to us. In particular SADC , Madam Mayor Cllr Eileen Harris, executive leaders Cllrs Daly and Wakely, councillors,officers Richard Shwe and Julie Simpson, Willmott Dixon Project Director Simon Ramage , S&P architects and Drivers Jonas Deloitte.Please click on for more on the many project participants over the last 2 or more years.
PoolTooSmall is here for you as always 24/7 so any comment you have please email us on
See you at the New Lodge soon!
There to the end last week PoolTooSmall founder David Gilroy went off all three diving boards ( 5,3 and 1 metre) on the Tuesday and is pictured one last time on the steps on it's last day. PoolTooSmall will stay in business for the forseeable future whilst we monitor the New Lodge operation.The last 3 years for us has shown that ordinary people , in our case swimmers, can make a difference in the major decisions made by our elected politicians. They should try harder at listening to ordinary people like us or take the consequences at the ballot box.
The Old Lodge is dead - long live the New!
Acknowledgment to lane swimmer Simon Smith for the Pool picture.
After 41 years ,the People's Pool will close at Westminster Lodge, St.Albans on Friday 2nd November 2012 to become a car park. Depending on your outlook it may have served you well or not - for thousands of us it has. The new upmarket £25million replacement will open on Saturday 10th November 2012 with a FREE day of activities from 10am until 5pm- see local Press for details and the link below. Here at PoolTooSmall we thank several generations of people for supporting us in campaigning for better public waterspace. We also wish new operator SLM well for stepping up to make the New Lodge hopefully something to be proud of. Please click on for the latest news from operator SLM.
Here at PoolTooSmall we are on site and also up the hill at the Council to bring you the latest on this £25 MIllion project nearing completion with opening next month November 2012. Inside and out we are on the case and can't resist reporting the tree-mendous progress of the trees fronting up the New Lodge besides much much more.
The 3 trees so far planted by Deepdale Trees Ltd of Sandy in Bedfordshire were spotted immediately by the PoolTooSmall arborist as Liquidamber Styraciflua Worplesdon 20-25 Standard. So now you know but what about the broader picture managed by Willmott Dixon? The10 lane Main Pool is nearly full and now has to settle for a fortnight whist the water is heated up and then the Magic Moment. Moveable floor experts Vario Pool will commission the Pool sending down divers to connect the connecting cables to the hydraulic rams which vary the depth from zero to 2 metres. Also inside great progress on the electrical supply, the Spa, the Gallery and the Climbing Wall . Outside,besides the service road Bellmouth and the instant trees, we see air duct wall, steps, acres of block paving, new walls and access for the disabled.
The pictures taken recently give you the flavour as the excitement builds and remember to drop in on new operator SLM either on site or in the town for the latest on their membership packages.And finally spot the unsung heroes of Stone Connections - one is Frank but who's the other one? Answers to our contact email address - thank you. 
PoolTooSmall wishes to congratulate St.Albans School on this newly opened £6.6 Million private development reported this week in the local Press. An extra 300 square metres of modern swimming space in our Cathedral City is to be welcomed as it may increase freedom of swimming choice in a limited way and take the pressure off the traditional public venues in the District at Harpenden and Westminster Lodge.
Please click on for a report this week on page 2.
And so here we are in 2012 an Olympic year and after years of public argument here in St.Albans about waterspace - we have two facilities opening at once - St.Albans School and the New Lodge.We wish you both well.
The clock is ticking down for the New Lodge opening in November 2012 as Main Contractor Willmott Dixon plus a phalanx of sub-contractors beaver away to complete the venue for a "soft opening " soon. Plenty to do all round as the entrance road to the Old Lodge is now blocked off and steps, disabled entrances and surroundings are constructed. A major fence on the Holywell Hill side , next to the new Service Entrance (The Bellmouth) starts construction Monday 24th September 2012. The controversial electrical power supply to the site is progressing and good news - the footpath on the south east corner through to the Abbey Theatre and beyond is now open to the public. New Lodge operator SLM is setting out it's sales pitch and some "life member "residents are complaining that they are being charged "joining fees" for the new facility . If in doubt contact SADC Head of Leisure Richard Shwe on
PoolTooSmall wishes to congratulate St Albans Council and SLM on this landmark signing. More on the Council's Press Release:-
We note in the picture left some of the key players these last few years who took the key decisions to make the New Lodge a better facilities mix. Can you spot, for example, SADC Executive leaders Cllrs Julian Daly and Mike Wakely,Chief Executive Daniel Goodwin, Head of Leisure Richard Shwe and SADC New Lodge Project Manager Ms Julie Simpson?
Coincidentally we understand it was Ms Julie Simpson's last day at the office at the end of a 4 year plus contract and we congratulate her on managing the many highs and lows of the New Lodge project. Come back and see the PoolTooSmall brigade in lanes 9 and 10 of the New Lodge soon!
Three years ago the controversy over the service road for the New Lodge was raging. The then Council was adamant that a service road behind the Abbey Theatre, wrecking their future development and environment , was what "had to be done". The PoolTooSmall campaign supported by the Civic Society and others resulted eventually in practical common sense prevailing. In May 2011 , the people removed the old Council from power and brought in a new listening team led by Cllrs Daly and Wakely supported by other parties led by Cllr Leach and Cllr Grover.Above you see the result of democracy in action - an all round winner of a service road straight off Holywell Hill .
So there it is - the bellmouth cut with the obvious shape. Left hand pic shows before behind the yellow Willmott Dixon hoarding, next 2 show the bellmouth under construction and fourth we have Omar ,Cooney's contracts manager giving it the thumbs up on site.
And pictured far right up in the town on Market Day last Wednesday, New Lodge operator SLM are setting out their stall.
In the Review newspaper last Wednesday 22nd August 2012 , New Lodge operator SLM advertised vacancies at all operational and management levels for staff at the new flagship facility . It's encouraging to see SLM are holding a special recruitment day on 4th September 2012 at the Town Hall 10am -5pm. We applaud the ambition of SLM in advertising for a whole Food and Beverage Team of 6 or more staff not to mention Fitness and Operations Teams.
The Hertsad on Thursday 23rd August 2012 page 7 highlights the justifiable concerns of Lodge Harpers Gym member Matt Russell who asks " Are we going to be ripped off?". The short answer is we don't know yet until SADC and SLM have agreed the pricing of various membership packages. Watch out folks - the devil will be in the detail!
PoolTooSmall have been led to understand that existing swimming and gym contracts will be honoured if they carry over to the New Lodge. Also we believe that if your contract is running out soon but before New Lodge opening , you will be able to renew at the present Lodge and this will be carried over. It would be helpful if SADC/SLM could clarify these issues and make a public statement as soon as possible.
SADC Portfolio Holder Cllr Mike Wakely told PoolTooSmall today 27th August that " parallel working" was being introduced with Willmott Dixon, SLM, SADC and their agents Drivers Jonas Deloitte, to accelerate the on site provision to achieve opening in November 2012.
He said that the provision of various utility services to site had been particularly challenging.
The pictures above taken in the last few days show there is plenty left to do. Good luck one and all!
After heavy rain last weekend 5th August 2012 it was time for the external appearance of the New Lodge to start changing fast. Far left is Frank of Stone Connections constructing his flint wall in front of the ground floor cafe/bistro with Ben and Bob descending from the upper glazing on a cherry picker. Further along Sam of DB Ryder is building a very smart looking air duct wall . On the North and west sides from the Abbey theatre all the way down and around Mud Lane, Cooney is shifting tons of sand and blocks for the hundreds of square metres of paving and steps. On site inside and out there are about 150 operatives all coordinated by main contractor Willmott Dixon - established in 1852.
One PoolTooSmall wag remarked that it's only it's editor can remember that far back. Now let me see Mr Willmott - where is my top hat , frock coat and musn't forget my trig tables and protractor!
The New Lodge visitors centre had a surprise facelift last Wednesday 1st August when the new operator SLM ,trading under the banner EVERYONEACTIVE advertised itself on site for the first time . It is believed they will begin staffing it , to answer customers' queries, beginning Monday 13th August 2012.Elsewhere on site we see Alvin of the WallGlaze Co putting away his bright red spider crane - note the support pads that the feet of his machine sit on,tucked on board.Up above in the background are the glass sheets he lifts into place. Well done one and all - plenty left to do yet. More later.
The people of St.Albans over the last 3 years listened to and agreed with our expert assessment , reported in the Press in February 2010 and since,that based on ONS Statistics , there would be a long term leisure waterspace deficiency for many decades in St.Albans and District. The ONS does not conduct this vast operation for fun , it does it so that authorities, planners and providers heed it's implications. It comes as no surprise whatsoever here at PoolTooSmall that the latest Census 2011 figures (more detail later) fully vindicated our campaign for a larger Main Pool at the new Westminster Lodge. Without the increase , there would have been queues out the door down to Mud Lane- this has been averted.But we cannot rest on our laurels, the bottom line ,as evidenced by the latest ONS figures , is that we still have a longterm leisure waterspace deficit . Don't just read the stats - act on them!!!
The clock is ticking for New Lodge Main Contractor Willmott Dixon as they aim to hand over the New Lodge to the new site operator SLM on or about 29th August 2012. And it's all action on site from all points of the compass as the PoolTooSmall camera goes on a 360 degree snap of the site from outside the hoarding showing the big progress so far and what is left to accomplish with just 6 weeks to go to handover to SLM NOT opening to the Public.
So let's start our tour at the junction of Mud Lane and Holywell Hill and peep over the hoarding (top left ) where water services will soon be connected - another hole in the ground followed by landscaping . The East side cladding is still being constructed and leads south to the huge substation where electrical, gas and waste services will be handled. Notice the huge storage tanks behind the Main Pool gallery .On the south side an impressive finished section of cladding before we move on to the top gate by the Abbey Theatre entrance . Looking North the site Motorway churned up by umpteen heavy vehicles per day - in the foreground the components for the Climbing Wall (pic 4). And in pic 5 we are at Cooney's Corner and Peter is knocking out shuttering for the Air Duct Wall . And finally we are back on Mud Lane where Kent Company Wallglaze will be back on glass No 18 ready to install the sides and roof of their special offset creation.
So what is left to do? On the inside up to 150 operatives per day are working on internal walls , electrical and mechanical services, the Pools , air con and more.
But for us on the outside there is the very considerable matter of 1200 square metres of ground levelling and paving all round the new building ready for us the punters to walk safely in and enjoy. Here at PoolTooSmall we are rooting for all of you on site as the good weather continues and the New lodge steams ahead!
Stay tuned to us folks - you get it first on the site everyone turns to.
FEEDBACK WELCOME on if anything we report here deserves comment- we are here for you 24/7.

There is never a dull moment in St.Albans right now as the PoolTooSmall camera returns to the New Lodge site after last weekend's Olympic frolics elsewhere. Among the myriad of unsung heroes on site from umpteen sub contractors ,let's say hello to another team of specialised experts Wallglaze Fixing Ltd at DA3 7PF a Kent registered company. They do their business with a red spider crane , a blue cherry picker and a little marvel of engineering - the suction lifter machine. It has 12 suction pads and is shown holding a muliple glazed unit weighing 600kg. It can handle up to 1000kg! A team of 7 are required , 4 on the inside with a moveable scaffold and 3 on the outside on the cherry picker and the spider. The tricky part is that each glazed unit is stood off about half a metre from the curved main wall. There is a clever rail arrangement at the bottom and at the top standoffs with slots that hold each unit in position. We witnessed plumbline accuracy to just a millimetre - 3 done last Tuesday,13 done by Thursday ( right hand picture) - impressive. In between the verticals is white caulking tube finished off with mastic for a nice smooth finish. John ,Ben, Bob and colleagues will be back next week to do the side and roofing glass. Well done lads you should charge admission!
And who you may ask provides the special glass? It's a West Drayton company Sharda Glass on As you will see if you click on them now - they do any size of project like the Shard in the City of London. British Engineering strutting it's stuff.
See you on site Monday lads!
Oh what a great community occasion it was here in St. Albans as the Olympic 2012 Torch came through today. It comes but once in a lifetime for most people to witness this Olympic
extravaganza as PoolTooSmall took to the Hatfield Road, St.Albans as a highly organised , good humoured operation gave us a great afternoon. Pictured left are Joan the Torch bearer and PoolTooSmall founders Ingrid and David Gilroy.
But how many people in the picture have witnessed the Olympic flame twice in this country ? Answer - Ingrid Gilroy then schoolgirl Ingrid Anne Neilson whose parents Alec and Betty Neilson took her to the Olympic events at the White City in 1948. You can follow the Torch by clicking on the BBC website on
Congratulations to the Olympic organisers, an efficient and good humoured Hertfordshire Constabulary , the Event Team and the army of stewards. In St. Albans heavy rain overnight and that morning left us quaking that the day would be a washout. At the Hatfield Road Cemetery / St Pauls Church "KIss Point" the rain had stopped and then in a flash the moment we had all been waiting for - the Torch Handover . From our position thousands of people on both sides of the Hatfield Road stretched east towards Morrisons and west towards Clarence Park . Never seen the like in our 40 years here - a great abiding memory!
You get it first here at PoolTooSmall ,live from the SADC Council Chamber, on Midsummer's Day 2012 at about 2025. Cllr Julian Daly ,Cabinet Chair , made the announcement of their preferred operator on a 10 year contract following a formal vote in Part 1 of proceedings - surprising us all that the suspense would carry to Part 2 and maybe midnight. So who are SLM ? Click on this link now Also click on
We do know they run Woodside and Watford Leisure Centres among 60 or more sites across the country
A formal Press release by SADC is expected Friday 22nd June 2012 but in the meantime congratulations to SLM - we look forward to meeting you on site for years to come!
More later.

PoolTooSmall have been monitoring every aspect of the New Lodge Project for nearly 3 years now particularly on site once the major contract was awarded to Willmott Dixon (WDCL) in late 2010. It is with great pleasure that some of us Chartered Engineers here at PoolTooSmall see an ever present senior site manager being acknowledged for delivering the goods not just for his Company but for his profession . Independent site inspections awarded him and the team above expectations in all 8 categories checked. Big Mike is a family man with more than 30 years with WDCL and what you see is what you get! Always there to answer our interminable questions , hot on health and safety and a credit to British engineering.
Ahead of the momentous meeting next Thursday at 7pm in the Council Chamber, the Agenda has been published on the SADC website on :-
Officers have evaluated the bids originally 9 of them but currently down to 4 and soon ,all being well , just one! The key items in the link above are for Item 9(iii) pages 25-36 in Part 1 and Item 12 in Part 2. Much of the reports that we can see concentrates on the scoring process involving price and quality. Further, there appears to be a 10 year baseline bid but tenderers could also offer an alternative timescale. The devil is in the detail and without labouring the point too much , PoolTooSmall expects that all involved have learned from past processes and ensure that the successful bidder's finances are beyond reproach. We will be watching on Thursday either in the Council Chamber or online at . Good luck everyone!

SADC’s New Lodge Project manager Ms Julie Simpson gave an impressive report with presentation and slides on 7th June 2012 to the Local Services Scrutiny committee –see webcast below. PoolTooSmall joins with councillors of all persuasions at the meeting in thanking all the team on a massive amount of hard work. The mood overall is now one of quiet excitement now that completion appears well and truly in sight. If you have the time there is a huge amount of detail in the links below . More of this detail later from us but see our Executive Timescale Summary here

** Local Services Scrutiny Committee met 7th June 2012 – webcast is on

** 21st June 2012. Report to Cabinet with name of preferred Operator bidder. Cabinet agenda to be found on

**4th July 2012. Notification of award of Operator.

** 14th July 2012. Formal award of Operator contract.

** July 2012 . Possible call-in of Cabinet's Operator decision.

** 29th August 2012. Main contractor Willmott Dixon still aiming to hand over new Centre to appointed Operator by that date.

** Sept and Oct 2012. Operator mobilisation and Centre fit out.

** 1st November 2012. New Centre opens.

** 28 Feb 2013. Old Lodge demolished and site landscaping completed.

** Early March 2013. Close of maintenance depot .

PoolTooSmall were totally incognito at the St.Peters St. celebration of her Majesty's 60th year as we took to the streets with our 2 little cameras .And it's "Spot the Councillor" time as we see some of our 58 elected councillors giving it "the presence"! First up we have none other than Madam Mayor Cllr Eileen Harris who does like to wow the camera while her minder Mace Bearer Mr John Hills has his back turned! Second up and blowing his own trumpet is highly popular St.Peters Councillor Simon Grover alias Che Grovera with the Swanvestas Social Club Band. Simon is the only regular lane swimming councillor at Westminster Lodge - we have regular surgeries with him at the deep end. And Council Leader Julian Daly did not escape the PoolTooSmall dragnet as he was apprehended by the PoolTooSmall Leader! The dancing in the streets was fantastic - what a vibrant display by the young people. And in Jennings Road, St.Albans as the sun went down we gave it one last picture.
The 467th Mayor of St.Albans Cllr Eileen Harris together with Deputy Mayor Cllr Julie Bell were sworn in at the annual highly colourful ceremony in the Council Chamber last Wednesday evening.Pictured from left to right Mace Bearer Mr John Hills , Mayor and Deputy. Our thanks to the SADC Pressroom for the link below with a report of proceedings:-
We have every reason to believe that this female Mayoral dynamic duo will make this Civic Office go with a swing in 2012/13 as they are known to get on well - a blend of Northern no nonsense and southern verbose action!
Pictured (left) after the ceremony PoolTooSmall leader David Gilroy caught up with the new Mayor and Deputy to congratulate them on their new offices. St Albans District Council are hosting a Jubilee Party in St. Peters Street on Monday 4th June 2012 from Noon til late .
Everybody will be there from Mayor and Deputy , Councillors , bands , stalls and the rest. Click on this link for more details
Undoubtedly the best Head Receptionist at the Lodge in the last 39 years , Cheryl was left centre stage today until the PoolTooSmall
founders/troublemakers appeared with cards and gifts.
Many more groups here at the Lodge have weighed in with their tributes to the lady who has a special personal way for every one of us . She is our loss and Leisure Connection's too and some one else's gain . Enjoy your night and love to husband Ryan and family from all of us- Customer Service at it's best!
The 466th Mayor of our great Cathedral City , Cllr Aislinn Lee ( pictured left) bows out after a good year in office supported by Deputy Cllr Geoff Harrison. They will hand over to Cllrs Eileen Harris and Julie Bell respectively . Once in mayoral office they are "above politics" .But in advance of that PoolTooSmall wishes to congratulate these two 2 determined , indeed feisty, ladies both of whom stepped up in the Council Chamber more than once to support PoolTooSmall's successful campaign for a 10 lane Main Pool at the New Lodge Centre. PoolTooSmall will ,like last year, be at the colourful ceremony commencing at 7pm in the Council Chamber. Look out for report and pictures here on this website soon. Please click on the Council's link here for more information
Please see detailed results on the Council's website below.
On Thursday 3rd May 2012 the people of St.Albans handed down judgement on the performance of our elected District administration – one year on from a major political turnover . And how have the major players done from a PoolTooSmall viewpoint? Quite clearly the people handed a “steady as she goes” verdict to Cllr Julian Daly’s busy group , together with the same for Cllr Simon Grover’s group. Cllr Martin Leach’s group were up handsomely with 8 councillors from 4 .
All of these groups have been highly supportive of PoolTooSmall over the last two and a half years and the results reflect this. Thank you.
Now we come to Cllr Robert Donald’s group which has slumped in popularity from ruling the Council roost for years – 30 seats at start of 2010 to just 19 seats now in 2012 . They did not listen to the people especially on the New Lodge Project and they paid the price! Democracy is alive and kicking in St.Albans!
Next year sees County Elections and no District elections so barring surprises the way is clear for the present “can do”administration to forge ahead. Among many projects, like Batchwood,London Colney and Verulamian Park the appointment of a New Lodge operator to receive the new centre from Willmott Dixon is a huge priority. A Grand Opening at end of 2012? Here at PoolTooSmall the pricing of all activities at the New Lodge will go under the microscope as and when – we are still very much in business!
We congratulate all those for their achievements on behalf of us the people this last 12 months but issue this annual reminder to all 58 elected councillors.
You are elected to listen to and serve us the people and not yourselves – the ballot box is always nearby to remind you!
We are all summoned to Mayor Making on Wednesday 23rd May 2012 at 7pm in the Council chamber to witness our new Council sworn in.
We wish them all well.


PoolTooSmall is not affilliated to any political party and never will be . We do however rely on our elected Councillors to make the right decisions on the big local issues here in our great Cathedral City that we hold dear. In our case the major issues are of an aquatic /leisure nature - we only came into existence because of the grossly inadequate technical and financial New Lodge specification drawn up by the last District Council political team who were removed from power last Thursday 5th May 2011. Election Returning Officer Mr Lovelady has now published the candidates for the Election on
Also please click on now for plenty of good general information from the Council website - how to find your Ward or how to become a candidate etc. Remember, it's your democratic right to vote . If the above fails to help you then as always email us here at PoolTooSmall on here for you 24/7/365.
There is plenty of action around the New Lodge site this month with a new excavation for drainage right next to the existing Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre. This requires Louis and his digger and his Guvnor to do the business . Heavy shuttering is placed in the ground once the trench is dug , in goes the drain pipe for surface or foul water , then shingle on top . When they have done you won't know they'd ever been there - well done Willmott Dixon and groundwork contractors Cooney - they don't hang about!
Elsewhere another vital contraption the Camfaud concrete pump reaches metres to the parts other machines can't reach -this one is on it's way to pour another concrete floor near the Sports Hall and new service road entrance. And finally we have 2 more potential additions to the PoolTooSmall inspection team - a gentleman in crash hat with a large brown dog in tow ! We wonder what our official inspector Clyde the puppy would think - smile!
 Main contractor Willmott Dixon have an impressive scheduling program that ensures everything is installed in the right place at the right time. This means sometimes that a process is executed in stages as the infrastructure is built. The main glazing at the New Lodge will be on the West (entrance) side with a long run on the North (Mud Lane) side opposite the Main 10 lane Pool under the massive Glulam beams.The glistening 1.5 m x 2.5m tinted double glazed units each weighing about 200kg are installed by another marvel of engineering hardware- the suction machine together with 5 operators on a special hoist and a massive Cadman crane for the big lift. Each unit is sealed with a special resin and clips hold everything steady. So hard hats off to Bob the Cadman crane driver and JPJ Installations who install up to 20 of these units per day conditions depending. They will be back with another special crane that can get under the Glulam beams to install the top run of 15 units.Well done lads - easy when you know how!
Some weeks back PoolTooSmall approached the District Council and Main Contractor Willmott Dixon to see if interested parties could see the New Lodge under construction before it is completed later this year. Congratulations all round as our request came true last week - a once in a lifetime chance probably before we start using it.
PoolTooSmall founders David and Ingrid Gilroy together with local groups and councillors were taken round the inside of the main New Lodge construction site by SADC Project Manager Ms Julie Simpson. She was accompanied by Willmott Dixon’s Project Director Simon Ramage and senior site manager Mike Pennington. Health and safety as always was paramount as we all donned protective boots , gloves, high-vis jackets and hard hats .I am not going to go through the full list of New Lodge facilities –these are well displayed in the on site visitors cabin and on the SADC website. Also there are good descriptions with pictures in the local Press. Instead I will highlight the big surprises you won’t easily see from the outside of the perimeter hoardings. These are the Sports Hall, Draught Lobby , Spas , the 3 pools, upstairs sun terrace and views from the first floor gym.
The ground floor Sports Hall on the SE side is huge and the key word is flexibility – umpteen different activities at once! The ground floor draught lobby ( not draft lobby) has to allow for various doors and windows in the centre to be simultaneously open or closed ie the ground floor café/bistro , the main entrance and various upstairs rooms ie the 180 station gym. The spas on the SW side are roomy and occupy ground and upper floors. The upper spa level leads out onto an outside W facing sun terrace and weather permitting you could top up your tan there from March until September! The main 180 station first floor gym has magnificent views looking North towards the Cathedral whilst below that the ground floor café/ bistro has easy access from Verulamium Park.
For us , the 3 pools impress by the sheer volume of reinforced concrete but without a shadow of doubt the 10 lane Main Pool with the Glulam beams above are the jewel in the New Lodge crown.The Main and Learner pools with their carefully shaped floors are now awaiting another engineering marvel –the moveable floors which provide massive operational flexibility for the operator and users of the Centre. So we take our hard hats off to SADC, to Willmott Dixon and the multitude of companies that we know have worked hard to bring this landmark Project safely to fruition. See their endevours elsewhere on this website.
God willing , we the public will be partaking of this feat of British engineering and planning by the end of 2012!
It may seem innocuous at first sight to a casual passer-by but to us at PoolTooSmall also the Civic Society, the Abbey Theatre, the present District Council and people generally this is something of a red letter day. Two years of campaigning to bring engineering and financial common sense to fruition in the form of an "every one wins" service road implementation off Holywell Hill. Above shows where the action is off Holywell Hill. Starting this morning we have Louis with his digger and in the background to the right we have the rear of the main gallery - you can just see the massive Glulam beams above. Looking on in the distance is the great Site Manager - the Cathedral! Willmott Dixon told PoolTooSmall today that the clearance firstly enables them to reconfigure the site perimeter hoardings and start to install the electricity sub-station in the service yard . Later they will lay the "New Cut" complete with gates, railings and signage. Well done Willmott Dixon, the Council's Project Manager Ms Julie Simpson, engineering driver of the new cut ,Portfolio Holder Cllr Mike Wakely and a great supporting cast as above. For PoolTooSmall this is demonstration to everyone that we don't just talk about it - we get the action that delivers for the most important group of all - the people. We call it democracy in action - see you tomorrow, Louis!
Need a lift ,Sir! Willmott Dixon ships all kinds of cranes in and out of site almost on a daily basis to shift massive blocks, insulation, electrical or lightweight aluminium air con machinery and more.With a frost free environment there are now over 100 operatives on site from more than a dozen companies.

We have several magnificent sights to report . As fine a picture of a legendary Eddie Stobart lorry as you will ever see on Mud Lane .
Second from the right we are indebted to Willmott Dixon for this historic picture in their February 2012 newsletter showing our 10 lane pool with Verulamium Park in the background .But what's this on the far right? It's 2 new recruits to the PoolTooSmall inspection team . Set against the fine Marlborough School murals on the Willmott Dixon hoardings we have local residents Cheryl and Archie an Old English Sheepdog puppy. Proud owner Cheryl told PoolTooSmall that Archie is 11 months old and weighs in at 5 and a half stone. As you can see , Archie will lick everthing into shape soon enough! And we bet he can test the New Lodge Main Pool with Clyde the Labrador - one can test the extra Main Pool Lane 9 and the other the extra Main Pool Lane 10!
You can always rely on PoolTooSmall for that extra little bit of imagination - smile!
Congratulations to St.Albans District Council , Mandeville and Marlborough Schools as our community starts to strut their stuff ahead of New Lodge opening later in the year but also inspired by London Olympic year 2012. On Mud Lane the murals literally appeared in a day on contractor Willmott Dixon's hoardings. PoolTooSmall promised the gentleman that posted them up to make his 2 young daughters happy by placing pictures on this website by 2100 hrs tonight Friday!
 Watched over by the massive Glulam beams over the 10 lane Main Pool , by the mortar and cement silos on Cooney's Corner this is a project really coming to life now . As we at PoolTooSmall know, about 35 different Schools have swimming lessons at Westminster Lodge every term and for the last 40 years! So join in the excitement pupils - it's your facility for your future . Never ever let anyone tell you otherwise!
If any reader or School has more to add to this story please email us anytime as always on
Believe it or not, the two on the left had never met before until last Friday 2nd March 2012 on the occasion of the Herts Ad's open day in the city centre to mark the opening of their new City centre offices at Town Hall Chambers,35, Market Place , St.Albans. Returning to the centre since the Hertsad published their first edition on 7th July 1855 you see on the left PoolTooSmall founder, leader and website editor David Gilroy and on the right Hertsad Editor Matt Adams. One PoolTooSmall wag remarked that you knew which was which immediately- David was on that very spot in 1855! The pair are pictured displaying the current Hertsad frontpage and not far away was the red sofa for guests to sit and chat. Read all abaht it by picking up a copy or getting it delivered if you live in the area or register online at And now to the point I have made many times before- the Press is the cornerstone of our democracy-without it we are in a far worse place .Welcome back Hertsad and go forth as always to report without fear or favour- we will look in on you soon but not Wednesdays as it's deadline day!
FOOTNOTE FROM DAVID. Come to think of it- where is my 3 cornered hat , my frock coat and my buckled shoes?
Congratulations to St Albans City and District Council and their Press Room for distributing this corker of a picture, left, taken last week as Willmott Dixon hit the New Lodge roof in style! As reported below PoolTooSmall were at ground level to record the massive Kalzip machine feeding out the shaped aluminium roof 60 metres long. 20 metres up on the left we see the site operatives taking it in hand to form a huge waterproof skin. The project nevers stops even though it was icy conditions slowing down brick and
blockwork construction.
And at ground level a first ever picture to gladden the hearts of all PoolTooSmall campaigners who thought we would be cursed for the next 50 years with an inadequate 8 lane Main Pool . It's the 10 lane Main Pool full of water under test. The Learner Pool has passed it's water test and has been shot blasted ready for keying and tiling. And elsewhere the pace is quickening . Today Thursday 16th February 2012 on site were about 98 operatives and another 10 in the site offices . You ain't seen nuthin' yet - working numbers on site could hit 200 soon!
Here at PoolTooSmall we are proud of the New lodge construction project as being essentially British engineering - which it is. But, as we will explain over the next few months, there is a very European flavour to many of the subsystems. So let's salute some smart engineering for the New Lodge roof from German company Kalzip on . Have you ever thought how to put the final roof layer on an area about 2000 square metres and make it waterproof , quick to install without traffic jams ? Easy when you know how as main contractor Willmot Dixon bring in the European leaders in aluminium on site/pre-assembled roof and wall structures. Enter the Kalzip red truck which has the aluminium roof forming equipment. Load it up with several tons of flat aluminium roll about a metre wide then lift it up on site to roof level. By remote control the red machine takes the roll in on the left , shapes it to the designer's specification and sends it out straight onto the New Lodge roof for installation .
Time and tide wait for no man. Arrive on Monday , shape and deliver 40 tons of aluminium on site 20 metres above ground Tuesday and Wednesday and gone Thursday. Unsung heroes all of you - at least PoolTooSmall was there !
New Lodge Main contractor Willmott Dixon have just issued their February 2012 newsletter - you can read a report about the recycling aspect and more or you if you go to the New Lodge visitor's cabin you can pick up the leaflet. The secret is multiple skips for separate waste and detailed carbon footprint monitoring. And coming soon the 2 moveable floors for the Main and Learner pools - both recently have passed their crucial water retention tests.
The main feature of February on site was making progress despite sub zero temperatures. In the last week the improved temperatures have meant a big increase in operatives on site especially brick , block and masonry workers as the external cladding proceeds apace.So let's pay tribute to some of Willmott Dixon's sub contractors who are powering ahead right now on site. T. Lott Ltd - plastering and dry lining. D.B Ryder - blockwork.
D&R Scaffold - scaffolding. T.R.Freeman - roofing and cladding.Stone Connections - facade masonry.JPJ Installations - curtain wall and glazing. Blue Cube - spectator seating. These are just some of them also there are the electrical and air
conditioning experts and more. Currently there are up to 100 operatives on site and another 12 management/support staff in the office. The 10 lane Main Pool is coming to the end of it's water test and up on high the 60 metre lengths of aluminium roofing are being installed together with the absolutely vital insulation. Behind the scenes are the ever vigilant Clerk of Works and the WDCL site safety and management team. Health and safety is consistently of a high standard as is quality control and supervision of materials and procedures. Weather continuing to improve means things are looking good for this vast project. Keep it going folks!
The Press, radio and tv are cornerstones of our democracy and we thank them for airing our views . This week following the momentous Planning decision regarding the New Lodge service road it's our local press that steps up. Read all about it in the Hertsad of Thursday February 9th page 10.
Also see the Review of 8th February 2012 page 14.
We welcome Clyde the labrador puppy who has just joined our site inspection team. His proud Mum pictured far left on site is longtime PoolTooSmall supporter and Lodge lane swimmer Barbara G. As you read earlier (below) the new Learner Pool passed it's water test last week. This was achieved by Clyde doing the dog paddle in it. This smart all weather puppy will be monitoring events on site for the forseeable future.When asked what was his next assignment was Clyde said " See Willmott Dixon isn't barking up the wrong tree" . Smile!
It was the sixth and last item on the Plans Central agenda last night but well worth waiting for as a highly contentious New Lodge issue for the last 2 years was finally put to rest to everyone's satisfaction. The vote of Cllr Teare's multi- party committee was unanimously in favour of the new Council's plan 5/2011/2253 except for one abstention. Following a presentation by the Planning Officer , one of PoolTooSmall's Chartered Engineers David Gilroy spoke enthusiastically in support of the Application. Discussion that followed was short, sharp and to the point on this multi-faceted winner all round .Please click here for a link to the Council webcast of the night's proceedings then fast forward to 2 hrs 20 mins in to the webcast.
PoolTooSmall, the Abbey Theatre, the Civic Society and people generally are well satisfied now that we can all go ahead with confidence in the future on the site .
Over to you Willmott Dixon and your subcontractors - you will have the official work docket soon no doubt and we will continue to monitor everything ahead on site. Good luck!
David's actual address to the Committee follows here.
"I am David Gilroy , a Chartered Engineer and resident of St.Albans both for about 39 years and also leader of campaign group PoolTooSmall .

I have studied on line the documents and plans for this application and emailed a report with pictures to Mr Westwood on 27th October 2011. Overall, this is an excellent plan which is a vast improvement on part of an earlier plan 5/2010/0259 which gained planning permission on 28 April 2010. I visited the site on 25th and 27th October 2011 and had one minor concern then regarding an immature hornbeam tree about 11 metres north east of Tree 666 . Mr Westwood has since addressed this issue to my satisfaction.

This Application appears to have no downsides- it is an absolute winner all round. Remarkable in my 40 years as a professional engineer.

If granted by you tonight :-

1. It removes the totally unnecessary fear and uncertainty hanging over the Abbey Theatre these last 2-3 years so they can get on with their lives and their future site development whatever way they wish with their long lease.

2. It will save the destruction of more trees on the site including one maybe 80 years old (Tree 715 pictured left) very close to the Abbey Theatre.

3. The new cut directly off Holywell Hill is very short, and will cost less in construction than the old much criticised service road plan.Money saved apparently might be used for solar panels on the new Leisure Centre.

4. It saves intersection of the old footpath from the south east corner of the site to the Abbey Theatre entrance and beyond.

5. It is safer and environmentally more friendly– delivery of hazardous chemicals etc go direct into the new service yard , well away from the public and not all round the houses. It’s an absolute winner.Let me conclude.

As a Chartered Engineer on behalf of PoolTooSmall I have no hesitation in supporting this Application which is sound professional common sense bringing many advantages all round. I congratulate all concerned on a very thorough job here – Leisure Portfolio Holder and structural engineer Cllr Mike Wakely, officers, contractors Willmott Dixon and Cooney, S&P architects and Herts Highways. I also agree with every word of the late report just in tonight by the Civic Society referring to the Abbey Theatre and the service road.

A vote in it’s favour would be appropriate.

Eur. Ing David L. Gilroy. M.Sc. C.Eng. MIET. Chartered Engineer for PoolTooSmall.

30th January 2012."

The action simply never stops on site as Willmott Dixon drive ahead with the New Lodge Project. Here we see the first of the 3 pools at the new Centre being water tested . It's the 17 metre by 10 metre Learner Pool which will have a fully moveable floor from zero to a maximum depth of 2 metres. It took a week to fill it up and soon , after letting everything settle down, the water level will be checked for a week for leaks in the mass of reinforced concrete surrounding it and below. Note a safety feature , Willmott Dixon are hot on this, on the right a red flotation ring in case any site staff fall in! This pool has not been tiled yet so what happens to the water once the test is over ? They use it to help fill up the 25 metre by 10 lane Main Pool for testing - water is expensive in these quantities - good ecology WDCL! And so it continues and on time - well done British Engineering!
STOP PRESS . 31st January 2012. Learner Pool passes it's water test.
It's been a long time coming but at long last , not pre-empting due process, practical engineering common sense is on offer now for the Plans Central Committee next Monday evening to grant Planning Permission for a multiple winner.Please click on for the night's agenda. One of PoolTooSmall's Chartered Engineers David Gilroy, hopes to speak in support of the Council's excellent application . There are more details further down this webpage . If you have time join us next Monday to witness this special event - it's your democratic right.
PoolTooSmall is delighted to announce that one of it’s longtime supporters Roma Mills was re-elected in the Batchwood Bye-election held on Thursday 19th January 2012. Please click below now to see the official result on the SADC Website.
Here at PoolTooSmall we have no political status – we never say “Vote Party X or Y”. What we do however is commend or otherwise individuals who support our general campaign for improved leisure/aquatic facilities in the City and District of St.Albans. Last night was a classic example of democracy in action. Here we had a 5 star asset to the City and the Council Chamber who , removed from office by a single vote in May 2010 still fought for our cause in the frontline at Westminster Lodge and at the Council Offices. The colour of party rosettes means nothing to us at PoolTooSmall – it’s individuals listening to us the People and delivering the goods on the ground which impresses the resident or voter. We repeat yet again to everyone of the SADC’s 58 elected Councillors that only we the People give you the honour and privilege to listen to us then act appropriately. You are there to serve us and not yourselves. Ignore this message at your peril – there are local elections of one kind or another every May and 2012 is no exception. PoolTooSmall has much to do in 2012 particularly safely seeing in the New Lodge Centre but also ensuring that key operating decisions taken in the Council Chamber meet with the People’s approval. To this end Roma’s Return is welcome , we believe, right across the political spectrum.
If you are eligible please exercise your democratic right to vote to select a Councillor in Batchwood Ward . It is not our place to say "Vote Party X or Y" - what we do is indicate individual candidates who we believe we can trust to drive through our priorities. Hence see below where a 5 star asset Roma Mills (pictured) is standing .Young family man Tim Smith who apparently swims at Westminster Lodge is also standing.
We are informed by Returning Officer Mr Lovelady that counting will start at 10.15pm on the Thursday night just after Polls close at the Council Offices. We presume a result by midnight? Good luck everyone.
If you thought that PoolTooSmall was going to rest on the successes of the last 2 years, you are wrong - there is much left to do . For years the New Lodge project has been riven by politics and politicians at the People's expense. It has taken, amongst others, the non -political campaign group PoolToosmall to lobby for changes in the New Lodge specification despite the long term worst efforts of the last political team- removed from power at District elections last May 2011.
Here at PoolTooSmall we have no political status and are not affilliated to any political party and never will be. We never say "Vote Party X or Y"- what we do however is to commend or otherwise individuals, citizens, candidates or Councillors and let you the reader or voter make up your own minds . And stepping up in a surprise bye-election on Thursday 19th January 2012 in Batchwood Ward is longtime PoolTooSmall supporter Roma Mills . On the steps of Westminster Lodge with us as long ago as 2009 and in the Council Chamber in 2010 we have a fighter and winner for our cause . Respected right across the political spectrum and a former St Albans City Mayor and Councillor for 22 years - look no further than this 5 star asset to all of us than Roma Mills! And if that isn't enough then read on as Structural Engineer Mike Wakely brings potential New Year cheer to the Abbey Theatre and to the New Lodge Project cost savings and ecological benefits!
Congratulations to SADC Portfolio Holder and structural engineer Cllr Mike Wakely together with Willmott Dixon for drawing up plans that should have been drawn up two years ago by the now defunct , technically incompetent old Lodge political administration . Here we have a multiple winner of a plan , 5/2011/2253, which , if passed , would remove the Sword of Damocles hanging over our beloved Abbey Theatre these last 2-3 years. The old plan,5/2010/ 2059, bludgeoned through by tho old Project team effectively wrecked the Abbey Theatre's obvious future expansion plans for the next 52 years of their lease by driving a road at the rear of their premises which sterilised their future prospects. But now following on from the brilliant expansion of the New Lodge Main Pool by 25% to 10 lanes, yet more engineering excellence from the new Team as they now put in an absolute winner of a plan - it is all upsides and no downsides. One of PoolTooSmall's Chartered Engineers David Gilroy formally submitted comment and pictures (above) to Planning Officer Mr Westwood in October 2010. This and several more submissions are totally in favour of the new plan. Please read all about it by clicking on and following the links . Essentially this plan is cheaper , safer , socially and ecologically friendlier and operationally better. The potential bonus for all of us is that the costs saved will bring back the Solar PV panels into the Project budget and literally onto the New Lodge roof! Brilliant! And the Abbey Theatre can get on with it's life.
If you are able , please come to the hearing on 30th January 2012 in the Council Chamber at 7 pm - David Gilroy in his professional capacity expects to speak in support of the Council's excellent application. See you there!
STOP PRESS. You have until 25th January 2012 to comment to Mr Westwood on or write to the Council Offices quoting 5/2011/2253.
PoolTooSmall celebrates the end of a momentous year 2011 as Lodge lane swimmer and our Council Lobby Correspondent Ernest Barnes ( left) witnesses the vast sheets of glass going in just to the left of what will be the Main entrance of the New Lodge centre opening end year 2012. The right hand picture shows the Cadman crane lifting the huge sheets of glass into position assisted by a very clever suction machine consising of 9 pads . The 4 operatives on the red hoist ease the 2 cwt sheet into position then seal it in for the next probably 50 years! Then off comes the suction and on to the next - 24 of them in 2 days . Easy when you know how - well done Willmott Dixon and British Engineering!
For more pics it's always worth clicking on "on site action " to the left of this page for more slightly less formal pictures - you might be there !!
It is one of the joys of our democracy - imperfect as it is, that once in a while we the People get a surprise chance to voice our opinion at the Ballot Box and influence events in the St.Albans District Council chamber with who we install there. Occasioned by the resignation of a Councillor in Batchwood Ward last week , the law requires that a bye election be held within a certain time and we now know that it will be on Thursday 19th January 2012 .
Here at PoolToosmall we are delighted that stepping up as a candidate is a longtime supporter of ours , right from our early days 2 years ago is former St. Albans Councillor and Mayor Roma Mills.Not only was she on the frontline with us on the steps of Westminster Lodge fighting Cllr Robert Donald's incompetent crew but was there in the Council Chamber supporting us to bring common sense to prevail. Pictured left before Cllr Donald took a hiding at his own unnecessary call-in of the Westminster Lodge 10 lane expansion on 27th July 2011 are a star studded array of what democracy is all about. From left to right at the back Roma Mills, Deputy Executive Leader SADC Mike Wakely , PoolTooSmall Leader David Gilroy, PoolTooSmall supporters Alan Pearson, Ernest Barnes ,Rob Hill , Executive Leader SADC Julian Daly and former Civic Society Chair Peter Trevelyan. Front Roma's son Matthew, Peter Woolf, Ingrid Gilroy and James Gilroy.
We have no previous knowledge of the other candidates Mr Tim Smith and Mr David Partridge.
As always PoolTooSmall wishes to make it's standard declaration. We are not affiliated to any political party and never will be. It is not our place to tell you how to vote but we do present information so that you can decide for yourselves .
Please vote in Batchwood Ward on 19th January 2012 if you are eligible - it's your democratic right - you could make the difference!


The picture left says it all as she and another PoolTooSmall Founder husband David Gilroy give the thumbs up to the NHS and Watford General Hospital after some of the most testing 8 days in their 43 year marriage. Ingrid required pre-emptive surgery to stop future Big C so it was all hands to the pumps as our family and friends including many PoolTooSmall supporters swung into action to do the needful when the pressure was on. She confounded us all that after a 5 hour major bowel operation she was directing operations a few days later despite some short term sickness and a minor infection.

Home in just 8 days from admission to discharge is remarkable by any standards and that is what she sets. Folklore already, Ingrid personally distributed about 7000 PoolTooSmall leaflets this last 2 years on the steps of our heartland Westminster Lodge and around the City of St.Albans. She is also the creator of the now famous PoolTooSmall placards in their many versions ( picture) .

At home Sunday 4th December 2011 she said :-“I am just overwhelmed by the good wishes and love that I have received. I also must say how wonderful the care was in Watford General – never let me hear anybody criticise them, because they could not have been kinder and more efficient It was good company the women in Langley ward with me and new friendships were forged.The phone doesn’t stop ringing – people walking past then knocking are quite stunned to see I am home. They knock to hear how I am, then they come in and I can hold forth to them . People are so lovely- my family, friends and PoolTooSmall supporters are wonderful– I am very fond of the human race at the moment and I love you all.”

What a birthday present this is for PoolTooSmall – 2 years old this very week and in business way beyond New Lodge opening in a year’s time.

So there you have it folks- you now see why, if you didn’t before, at PoolTooSmall we are on the case 24/7/365- we never give up –we make a habit of winning. Please say hello to Ingrid on NOW – she will be delighted to hear from you . Thank you.

PoolTooSmall were running late last Friday and were treated to a floodlit spectacular by Willmott Dixon and their main groundworks contractor Cooney. Time and tide and expensive equipment wait for no man as at about 17.22 hrs , well after the end of the normal site week, a few tons of Hanson's concrete were shifted by the Camfaud concrete pump ( in yellow left) to the first floor Spa area which was then raked flat by 6 operatives . All supervised by Cooney's site manager , Omar.The massive multikilowatt arc lights do the business , safety awareness on this site is consistently a star feature. Well done lads - enjoy your weekend - plenty more to do on Monday!
Many congratulations to Willmott Dixon but also to two of the many unsung hero companies on the great St.Albans flagship project namely Anscough and L&W Naylor Ltd of Doncaster - Timber Erectors. The pictures speak for themselves as the heaviest "High Five " in years some 25 metres in the air is finally bolted in by the cherry picker boys. Right hand picture shows Warrick Naylor chaining up a massive Glulam beam before it takes up residence for the next maybe 50 years. Smooth and professional a tribute to all concerned in British and European engineering.
More facts and figures later.
Today was a massive day in the life of the New Lodge constuction project as main contractor Willmott Dixon brought in from Denmark the hi -tech roof beams and massive muscle from Doncaster to place them in position over the 3 pool area .The Lilleheden company of Denmark with an office in Doncaster on supply and install these unique Glulam beams . Four were installed today under the supervision of Willmott Dixon at the New Lodge site. Two trailers each carrying two 34 metre long beams each weighing 7 tons started out from Denmark last week to spend their next 50 years or more in St.Albans. With a police motor cycle escort from Harwich early this morning they were greeted not only by Project Director Simon Ramage and his team but also by an Anscough 200 ton heavy lift crane which purred effortlessly through a textbook lift . There is little margin for error maybe 5 mm as the 34 metre beam is lowered into position guided by 2 cherry pickers onto the waiting steel supports set in reinforced concrete. In 10 minutes the first beam is bolted in first at the gallery end then at the Mud Lane side. Sighs of relief all round from Willmott Dixon ,SADC Project Manager Julie Simpson , Lilleheden and the PoolTooSmall onlookers . Commenting afterwards to PoolTooSmall , Simon Ramage said " We're really pleased with how today went, despite the cool exteriors we're never at ease when an operation like this is taking place, so its great when it goes so well".
St.Albans can take great pride in today's operation a tribute to British and European engineering. Tomorrow Tuesday 22nd November , the 5th and final 34 metre beam will arrive and be installed at the Holywell Hill end of the site .
Congratulations all concerned .
Remember you get it first and weekly/fortnightly here at PoolTooSmall on
Bookmark us NOW - we are on the case beyond opening in a years' time.
We report a forthcoming event unique in St.Albans' long history at the New Lodge Site. Main Contractor Willmott Dixon's operations site manager Simon Ramage explained to PoolTooSmall's Chartered Engineer David Gilroy today Friday 18th November what it was all about . The Glulam roof ,made in Denmark will cover the Main Pool , Learner Pool and Gallery area . Glulam means Glued/ Laminate and is a special wood construction - stronger than steel and very ecological and cost effective.There will be 3 trailers each just under 34 metres long and each carrying 2 massive Glulam roof sections. The convoy will have a police escort all the way from the coast until it parks in Mud Lane, St.Albans early this coming Monday morning. A special 200 ton heavy lifter crane inside the site will then lift the sections in order directly onto the concrete and steel frame. The picture on the left taken by PoolTooSmall Thursday 17th November 2011 shows the corner of the site all ready and waiting for the "Big One". So don't drive your vehicle anywhere in this area - junction of Mud Lane and Holywell Hill this coming Monday morning . For a grandstand view take an early morning stroll through Verulamium by the Ver . We will with our cameras of course.Simon Ramage is absolutely right - a unique St.Albans event .
For some of us - literally once in a lifetime. Good luck lads!
Remember you can contact us 24/7/365 on with questions or comment.
Finally - please bookmark us on the ONLY website to bring you weekly/fortnightly pictures and reports of this the largest flagship project in St.Albans' long history.
It's all happening at the New Lodge site. The first School to visit the newly opened Visitor's Centre, Prae Wood Primary School today 15th November 2011were shown plans and bricks by Willmott Dixon's site managers Mike Pennington and Tony Wright . They also had to answer tough questions like "How many bricks and of course the ultimate "When will it be open?" All is being revealed as , blessed by frostfree conditions the Learner Pool now has all it's sides and soon will be water tested and the 10 lane Main Pool is not far behind . The cherry pickers reach the parts most mortals would not dream of as the big Supervisor across the road looks on. Coming soon a megaload by road the Glulam roof from the Continent. We'll be there to record it all.
Well done, everyone , more later.
Remember to bookmark us on the only website that brings you weekly/fortnightly pictures and reports as it happens of the biggest Project in the City of St.Albans long history.
DC Leisure Management Ltd have been appointed as preferred partner for the Council after bids described all round as disappointing.
No swimming pool , diving boards or flumes - the private sector is not stepping up to solve the City's public leisure waterspace shortage.
PoolTooSmall's David Gilroy gives the financial and political background in the Review newspaper of 16 November 2011 page 16 "Let's Back the Winning Team".
You have to dig deep into the fine print on the Council's website to find the latest key dates for the New Lodge construction project. Construction is expected to be completed by end August 2012 . Following fit out, opening will be in November/December 2012. Final project completion including demolition of the present Lodge and site landscaping is to be 20 February 2013. The operator procurement process is under way and after a Cabinet decision in April/May 2012,an operator contract is expected to be signed in/around June 2012.
PoolTooSmall comments.Construction on site is going well, frost free so far this Autumn and the major change to a 10 lane Main Pool is well advanced .The Glulam roof over the main and learner pools area is expected end November 2011 and 28 day water testing of these pools will likely commence within the next month. Willmott Dixon are firing on many cylinders as reported earlier. On the face of it the timescales above look comfortable so there appears so far to be no reason why opening of the new Centre is not achieved before Christmas 2012.
Bookmark us on the only website to bring you regular weekly/fortnightly pictures and reports of this flagship project on site and in the Council Chamber .
Our thanks to the Herts Advertiser for publishing 2 pieces regarding this positive new development last Thursday 27th October 2011 one by their News Editor Madeleine Burton on page 3 and one by PoolTooSmall's David Gilroy in the Letters on page 11.If you don't get a free hard copy delivered to your door then you can read an e-edition. Just click on and follow the instructions.David's letter is reproduced in full -just click on
Announcements on the left . We are delighted to see in Madeleine's piece that leisure Portfolio Holder , professional engineer Mike Wakely met recently with Abbey Theatre's Paul Davidson who, like us, fully supports this new initiative.This is yet another example of a new Council listening to the front line players,swimmers, theatregoers, residents and Council taxpayers and driving welcome change through- long may it continue.
Willmott Dixon and their subcontractors are firing on many cylinders as they go about the Main Pool walls, plant room , sports hall , first floor gym and the Spa. Reinforced concrete, drainage ,floor slabs , steel structure, internal blockwork and now the steel roof all going in. To do this several heavy lifter cranes at once ,cherry pickers ,concrete pump and general purpose machines provide the muscle . Anything up to 40 people on site at the moment means it is all watched over by the Council's Clerk of Works. We estimate that on average about £1 million's worth per month is being spent to deliver the design to us next year.All is going well so let's pay tribute to some of the companies going hard at it.
PC Cooney-groundworks,Mimram-temporary electical works,Mifflin-Steel frame and pre-cast floor install,DB Ryder- blockwork,D&R Scaffold- scaffolding,Aqua Process Engineering-filtration package and TR Freeman-roofing and cladding.Supporting them are yet more companies like Hanson,McGovern, MTN, Quintin, Quellock and Readimix.
Keep it going lads before the weather turns! There are more pictures if you click on "On Site Action" on the left of this page.
Please bookmark us at the ONLY website to bring you regular news and pictures of the New Lodge and other developments of an aquatic nature in the District , every week/fortnight.
Any questions or comments please send them to us at here for you 24/7/365
The new St.Albans District Council (SADC) has formally published in the Press notice of “A new access road at Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre”. It’s reference is 5/11/2253 and you, the public have the right to comment on it – deadline is 2nd November 2011. Here at PoolTooSmall we are analysing the considerable amount of documentation and plans published on line at
Click on “Planning Applications Search” on the left , then click on “My Planning Applications” then enter the code 5/2011/2253.
Click on Documents – there are 2 pages one for reports and one for plans .
Please send in your comments to quoting reference 5/2011/2253 deadline is 2nd November 2011. It is your legal right .
PoolTooSmall’s initial assessment of the application is highly favourable. Many of our regular readers including some who are patrons of the Abbey Theatre will be well aware of the history behind the New Lodge service road saga – see earlier pages of this website. In summary, an earlier , intransigent Council gave itself planning permission to bludgeon a service road behind the Abbey Theatre and effectively wreck any future development plans it may have had .It probably alienated everyone in the City except the 2 proposing councillors namely Cllrs Donald and Burton. Mercifully in May 2011 the people voted Cllr Donald’s group out of power and replaced it with a new highly professional leadership, led by Cllr Julian Daly , who are setting to rights some of the people’s grievances about the New Lodge facility. SADC Portfolio Holder for Leisure ,professional engineer Cllr Mike Wakely and his team plus main contractor Willmott Dixon are to be congratulated on this new Application which is literally a multiple winner. If and hopefully when, passed :-
1. It puts the Abbey Theatre out of it’s misery of the last 2 years so they can continue development of their unique institution on their leased land for at least the next half a century.
2. It will save the destruction of more trees on the site including one about 80 years old.
3. The new cut directly off Holywell Hill is very short and should cost less in construction than the old discredited service road plan.
4. It saves intersection of an ancient footpath from the south east corner to the Abbey Theatre entrance.
5. It is safer – delivery of hazardous chemicals etc go direct into the new service yard , well away from the public and not round the houses.
All in all, without pre-empting due democratic process, we commend this Application highly and invite you to spend as much time as you can afford to looking at the details. We hope you will email with your comments copy to us as ever at and/or your councillor.
Your input becomes an official document and will be considered by the appropriate SADC committee later in the year.
The pictures show the proposed site area taken by PoolTooSmall from the Holywell Hill central reservation in October 2011.
This is a vital step forward in exactly the right manner to settling the New Lodge plan ready for opening next year.
Please don’t leave it to the next person – please read the details if you can and at least dash off a quick email to quoting reference number 5/2011/2253. This Application is professional practical common sense by an excellent team – they deserve our support.
PoolTooSmall has no political status – we just tell it the way it is. It’s our democratic right.
The pictures say it all as Willmott Dixon and their various subcontractors go full steam ahead to get themselves weatherproof before Winter arrives.The McGovern heavy lifter is moving into place tons of steel beams , pre-cast concrete slabs , bricks and concrete. A newly installed on site mortar silo next to the Mud Lane site gate appeared in just a day. It will be feeding an army of bricklayers with mortar soon as internal and external cladding and other work progresses.
As fast as Mifflin delivers the pre- manufactured steel beams, all individually numbered some weighing tons -see picture left ,they are installed usually the same day. The learner pool measuring 17 metres by 10 metres is very discernible now. The 10 lane Main pool is being constructed from the lane 10 ( plant room side ) working towards the corner of Mud Lane and Holywell Hill. The staircase (pictured left ) and the upper floor gym looking towards the Cathedral are also taking shape
We are obliged to SADC's Head of Leisure Richard Shwe for briefing PoolTooSmall on the New Lodge service road for which Planning Permission will be required. The Case number for it is 5/2011/2253 and you may , with the right browser , click on it here
More pictures and reports to come - don't forget to click on "On Site Action" on the left soon for updates.
STOP PRESS. BIG CONCRETE POUR WEDNESDAY 12th OCTOBER 2011. The "Claw" concrete pump is expected to strut it stuff.
If you were on site last Friday 16 September 2011 you would have seen 2 gentlemen peering at a hole in the ground just next to the existing Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre entrance. Main Contractor Willmott Dixon don't hang about and come midday Monday 19th September you have the public information cabin installed so that you can see exactly what is going on with this £25million flagship project just across the way.The cabin will be open soon for the same hours as the present Leisure Centre. It will have a model of the new Centre as presented to SADC Council a few months ago together with plans and drawings of the new Centre. There is also an observation window. If you have any queries about any of this , PoolTooSmall is on site almost every day and you can contact us as always on .You can contact Council Project Manager Julie Simpson on for operational information. For major policy issues we strongly commend you contact professional engineer and Deputy Council leader Cllr Mike Wakely on

Here is Chartered Engineer David Gilroy's submission to the Hertsad last week.


On behalf of campaign group PoolTooSmall on  may I strongly commend to your readers  the new St.Albans District Council (SADC) plan for “A new access road at Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre”. It’s reference is 5/11/2253 and you, the public have the right to comment on it – deadline is 2nd November 2011. Here at PoolTooSmall we are analysing the documentation and plans published on line at

Our initial assessment of the application is highly favourable. Many of your regular readers including some who are patrons of the Abbey Theatre will be well aware of the history behind the New Lodge service road saga . In summary, an earlier , intransigent Council gave itself planning permission to drive a service road behind the Abbey Theatre and effectively wreck any future development plans it may have had . It probably alienated everyone in the City except the 2 proposing councillors namely Cllrs Donald and Burton. Mercifully in May 2011 the people voted this group out of power and replaced it with a new, highly professional leadership, led by Cllr Julian Daly , who are setting to rights some of the people’s grievances about the New Lodge facility. SADC Portfolio Holder for Leisure ,professional engineer Cllr Mike Wakely and his team plus main contractor Willmott Dixon are to be congratulated on this new Application which is literally a multiple winner. If and hopefully when passed :-

1. It puts the Abbey Theatre out of it’s misery of the last 2 years so they can continue development of their unique institution on their leased land for at least the next half a century.

2. It will save the destruction of more trees on the site including one about 80 years old.

3. The new cut directly off Holywell Hill is very short and should cost less in construction than the old discredited service road plan.

4. It saves intersection of an ancient footpath from the south east corner to the Abbey Theatre entrance.

5. It is safer – delivery of hazardous chemicals etc go direct into the new service yard , well away from the public and not round the houses.

All in all, we strongly support this Application and recommend  readers to dash off a quick email to with their  comments.Your input will be considered by the appropriate SADC committee later in the year. This is a vital step forward in exactly the right manner to settling the New Lodge plan ready for opening next year.This Application is more professional practical common sense by the same excellent team that listens to the people and gave us 10 Main Pool lanes not an inadequate 8 – they deserve our support.

Please send in your comments to quoting reference 5/2011/2253 deadline is 2nd November 2011. It is your legal right .

PoolTooSmall on has no political status – we help bring about sensible change by enlisting practical common sense – it’s as simple as that!

Yours sincerely,

Eur. Ing. David L.Gilroy. M.Sc. C.Eng. MIET. Chartered Engineer for PoolTooSmall on

19 SEPTEMBER 2011.
You would have thought that these 2 senior councillors would have come out of denial after their party's defeat on 5th May 2011 at local elections and a subsequent hammering at SADC Scrutiny Committee ( Public Services) in July 2011 and at least check their facts regarding the New Lodge Main Pool size . But no - just like former Cllr Frearson twice in the last 2 years peddling incorrect information about the New Lodge pool, these heirs apparent are at it now. In a political leaflet through resident's doors this week Cllr Donald is wrongly telling people that the new Main Pool will be a non-standard square one. NOT TRUE! We are obliged to SADC Project Manager Ms Julie Simpson for formally setting the record straight and we quote. "In the original scheme ..the pool was 25x17m.The revised scheme now provides a main pool of 25x21m which means that the lanes are now : lanes 2-9 (8 lanes) =2m each (16m total whilst lanes 1 and 10 are 2.5m (5m total)= 21m in width. For competitions all lanes are 2m wide with a 500mm margin outside lanes 1 and 10 (which can be marked with lane ropes ), to minimise "reflective" wave turbulence (wake) off the side walls."
PoolTooSmall's technical expert comments. The present Lodge pool is 33.3m long and 6x 2m lanes wide - it is 399.6 square metres in area and has a maximum load of 133 people. Cllr Donald's, now discarded as grossly inadequate, proposed pool was to have been 25m x 17 m.This gives an area of 425 square metres and a a maximum load of 142 people - a derisory extra 9 people to meet the extra demands of the St.Albans people for the next 50 years perhaps.The revised New Lodge pool will be 25m by 21m that's an area of 525 square metres and a maximum load of 175 people.
That means the excellent new pool will take simultaneously an extra 42 people and within budget! This is futureproofing against future general public demand, in our expert opinion, for several decades - no queing down Mud Lane as you would have had with "Donald's 8 lane Disaster"!
So our advice to Cllrs Donald and Yates is to get your facts right and rejoice in the fact we now have a first rate professional team driving the Project in Cllrs Daly , Wakely, the officers and Main Contractor Willmott Dixon. The top picture above taken Friday 16th September 2011 shows the 10 lane Main Pool area under construction - site clearance and concrete being poured by the ton - there's no turning back now! The picture on the left shows the ground level cafe/bistro concrete flooring/drainage in place and above it the concrete gym floor under way. Overall Willmott Dixon are well on schedule!
PoolTooSmall on is the only website to bring you regular weekly/fortnightly pictures and reports of what is going on with this £25million flagship project. Coming soon - the staircase and and an observation cabin for the public!
If you have any feedback/questions email us on - here for you 24/7/365.
Bookmark us to be first with the news.
Let's take our (hard) hats off to one of the many unsung hero companies of this flagship project - Mifflin Construction Ltd .
Mifflin are based at Leominster, Herefordshire. They fabricate then install on site the myriad of steel sections that shape the buildings we see around us.And fast workers they are too! Pictures on the left show the New Lodge taking shape seen from the Mud Lane site gate . Note the curved cafe/bistro taking shape with the gym above it . Further down the side are the various pools.In the foreground a huge black drain section . Note in between the vertical steel supports whole courses of brickwork (blind walls) at ground level for the cafe . It looks pandemonium but is in fact all completely logical.Well done Mifflin, McGovern, Cooney, Hanson and Main Contractor Willmott Dixon . See you after the August Bank holiday lads.
What a difference a week makes as Wilmott Dixon's team of subcontractors crack on with site preparation and the assembly of the biggest Meccano set St.Albans has seen in recent years! Giant steel beams , nuts and bolts, power drivers and the heavy lifter all going at it.
No wonder SADC Executive Leader Councillor Julian Daly got down there to see how it's going and how our money is being spent.
In the left hand picture from right to left we see Cllr Daly, Willmott Dixon's Project Manager Simon Ramage and Site Manager Mike Pennington getting well and truly involved.
Great going lads, says the PoolTooSmall photographer - just a year to go and we wish you well.
More reports and pictures each week.
As if to emphasise the vote of last Tuesday's Overview and Scrutiny Committee to proceed with the New Lodge Ten Lane Project , serious muscle today moved in on site to start the main frame of the new centre .The picture taken from the steps of the existing Lodge show McGovern's 100 ton plus heavy lifter crane lowering a 17 ton crossbeam onto giant H frames either side of the 10 lane main pool area. Either end of the big beam are crane hoists each with an operative who uses a "Formula One" style high speed power driver to lock the massive nuts and bolts together.Impressive!
There's plenty more where that came from as Willmott Dixon presses on. Stay tuned to us , the only website to give you weekly reports and pictures as this flagship project unfolds .It's your money being spent - see what you are getting! Also click on "On Site Action" on the left for a collection of pictures over the last 18 months or more .

PoolTooSmall founders David and Ingrid Gilroy , pictured left before the meeting, were there with supporters (see picture below). Here follows what David actually said to the Scrutiny Committee last Tuesday - something for everybody.

Fashion Note. Ingrid is wearing pink pumps - these are not to help the water go round the 10 lane pool next year - Cllr Wakely's CHP installation in the basement is far more efficient!

1.Thank you , Chair – good evening everyone. I am David Gilroy ,for 37 years a resident of St.Albans and user of Westminster Lodge, a professional engineering project manager, now retired I thought, and leader of campaign group PoolTooSmall.

2. I belong to no political party and PoolTooSmall has no political status. PoolTooSmall supported by amongst many, the Civic Society, will campaign for the foreseeable future for “ adequate public leisure waterspace in the City and District of St.Albans”.

3.Turning to the well documented waterspace deficiency issue. There is a minority still in denial about what the extra 2 lanes on the Main Pool are about. The 2 lanes don’t just reduce the deficiency by over 100 square metres, they also “ futureproof” the WL Main Pool from general public demand overload for at least the next 30 years or more in my expert opinion. A massive prize indeed with all the extra activities and income that will result – water polo and canoeing I want to throw in as well, well worth consideration.

4. I reported all this on 19th July 2010 to Cllr Daly’s Scrutiny Committee in this Chamber , which helped that multi-party committee to vote for 10 lanes not 8 . So Chair’s main argument, with respect tonight, that more time was needed to discuss it all simply does not stand up.We’ve had the great debate it’s 10 lanes not 8 - the world has moved on.

5. The old Cabinet reversed the 10 lane recommendation back to 8 on 10th August 2010 for political reasons I believe- the people were not happy. By 5th May 2011 the Electorate had clearly had enough of , amongst other things, the apparent deafness of the then New Lodge political team and voted decisively to give us the biggest Council leadership change in 20 years – and quite right too!

6.The old administration, in my view, was squandering a once in 50 years opportunity but thankfully an excellent new team that listens to the people has taken over the Project. Council Leader Julian Daly and deputy Mike Wakely are professional finance and structural engineering experts respectively. For the first time since 2004, I am now totally satisfied that we have a first rate technically professional IN HOUSE project team that we can all trust. I congratulate both of them and their team, and the officers, on an absolutely brilliant re-engineering to 10 lanes of the Main Pool within budget . I was on site today , the 10 lane piles are literally set in concrete now – a special tribute to Willmott Dixon Construction Ltd for their flexibility and pragmatism under severe time pressure – you are a credit to British engineering, well done.

7. This call-in is somewhat shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted with respect. I recommend to anybody still with blinkers on and earplugs to throw them away and join with me and the people generally to unite behind this excellent new Cabinet, the officers , and Willmott Dixon.

8. I am sure such a recommendation would enjoy the unanimous support of this Committee.

9. Long live democracy and the exciting new 10 lane centre opening here in St.Albans next year. Thank you.

David Gilroy. 26 July 2011.


posted 23 Aug 2011, 14:49 by David Gilroy

TEN LANE LODGE FLAGSHIP STEAMS AHEAD - 27 JULY 2011.animated pleasure boat
Ahead of the call-in by Cllr Robert Donald to try to reverse recent Cabinet changes to the new Westminster Lodge design, a formidable array of talent assembled behind PoolTooSmall's famous placard last evening to retain the 10 lane Main Pool decision.This was done in some style after a 3 hour plus Overview and Scrutiny meeting ,feisty at times. Click on the following link for independent reports and coverage - great democracy in action! David Gilroy's speech against the call-in will be published here soon.
In the Hertsad 28 July 2011 page 7 we have "10 Lane Pool Gets Green Light for WestminsterLodge".Click on
Date for your diary ,please. Tuesday 26th July 2011 at 6.30 pm for 7pm , Council Offices. There is likely to be the first full blooded head on encounter between the New Council Team under Cllr Julian Daly and ex- Council leader Robert Donald's team over the New Lodge enlarged pool. Please be there to support your 10 lane heroes! Agenda pack is here :-
Running order of meeting is below on page 117 :-
If you wish to speak against the call-in please let us know on
More later.
PoolTooSmall rejects Cllr Rowlands' remarks about us being a "minority" and suggests we all scrum down now and support the new listening team headed by Cllrs Julian Daly and Mike Wakely. The full text is below - simply go to page 12.


posted 28 Jul 2011, 12:42 by David Gilroy

PoolTooSmall founder David Gilroy opens up the New Lodge debate to include solar panel options for the new Centre. Here is his submission to Hertsad last Thursday:-

SIR- New Listening Council is Improving New Lodge Facilities Mix and Within Budget!

On behalf of campaign group PoolTooSmall on may I comment on the recent remarks made in Hertsad by Cllr Rowlands on 23 June page 2 and lately those of Mr Twaddell on 30 June page 12 respectively regarding the New Lodge poolside spa and other facilities in the overall facilities mix?

Cllr Rowlands conveniently ignores the fact that even with no poolside health suite there is still well over £2 million’s worth of multiple spa facilities just 15 metres away on the complex!

Mr Twaddell really should read the published facilities mix as it was and what it will be – a huge improvement and within budget. The new 10 lane Main Pool ensures overload free service for at least 3 decades. Incidentally, the newly opened Becontree Leisure Centre’s 25 metre by 10 lane pool similar to ours ,will host Olympic 2012 water polo training straight away . A potential financial bonus for St. Albans soon enough?

Next , reserving judgement on roof solar panel options is a very wise move by the new team because it now appears , for cost and conversion efficiency reasons,that electric photovoltaic (PV) cells may not necessarily be the best solution for the new complex and that other technology should be considered. We have time on our side to get this right.

Finally ,what I do know is that at long last, the New Lodge Project is now in safe and technically professional hands. Executive Leader Cllr Julian Daly and deputy Cllr Mike Wakely are finance and structural engineering experts respectively- excellent leaders to drive this project through. Let us also not forget the considerable support given them by officers- Chief Executive Daniel Goodwin, Head of Leisure Richard Shwe, Head of Legal Mr Lovelady , Lead Officer James Blake, Head of Finance Mr Colm O’Callaghan and Project Manager Ms Julie Simpson. Last but not least let us also thank main contractor Willmott Dixon Construction Ltd and S&P Architects for their pragmatism and flexibility these last few weeks. Council Decision 55 of 15th June 2011 on its’ website encapsulates this.

I commend to you that we now support this dynamic, new , listening team – they have impressed thus far , long may it continue!

PoolTooSmall on has no political status – we bring about sensible change by enlisting practical common sense – it’s as simple as that!

Yours sincerely,

Eur. Ing. David L.Gilroy. M.Sc. C.Eng. MIET. Chartered Engineer for PoolTooSmall on


posted 19 Jul 2011, 05:14 by David Gilroy   [ updated 19 Jul 2011, 05:16 ]

Hats off to the Herts Advertiser for publishing our views - without fear or favour , this week 4 of us with different takes in support of the 10 lane New Lodge development and associated issues. Two professional engineers, Cllr Mike Wakely and David Gilroy , plus retired School Governor Max Schroeder and a Mr Ray Fairbairn all weigh in to support the new Council team. Read them all online below at :-
Born and bred in the City well over 6 decades ago , Mr Max Schroeder has a long memory of City affairs and writes:-
SIR:-Once again Cllr Rowlands of the once "vaunted" now expired LD party has committed the sin of flaunting recognised fact. The SADC planning committee under Cllr Daly has corrected recognised errors of the Burton Westminster Bodge party and secured the creation of the much-wanted 10x25metre lane pool. And yet Cllr Rowlands still has the audacity and nerve to belittle his so-called minority represented by PoolTooSmall action group. It is this sound-thinking group that have saved St.Albans swimmers from colliding with each other in 10 years' time. The "minority" Cllr Rowlands refers to is really his own party's narrow thinking , exemplified by the 326 emails/written objections received by SADC Planning department plus the petition of Mr Goodall for a 50 metre pool which planning officer Mr Moorhouse reported as 731 people.This makes 1057- some "minority " Mr Rowlands.And as for "short termism at it's worse" another Rowlands quote - surely even he has to hold his hands up and admit that Cllr Mike Wakely , a qualified structural engineer,has, with Willmott Dixon's flexibility , achieved a victory at no extra cost.
M SCHROEDER Green Lane, St.Albans.
Mr Ray Fairbairn of St.Albans writes:-
SIR:- As one of Cllr Rowlands "placated minority" I am pleased that the new Tory council has gone some way to give St.Albans swimmers a bit more elbow room in the new Westminster Lodge complex. Congratulations to both the new council and the builders for organising the changes in such short time.
By the way, did the last Lib Dem council ever reach agreement with HSBC about cancelling the existing lease on Bricket Wood pool when they closed it to paying customers before the lease had finished and were still paying for it some months later?
RAY FAIRBAIRN Warren Road, St.Albans.
PoolTooSmall comments.The previous administration did conclude a financial deal with HSBC. The present Executive Leader of SADC , Cllr Julian Daly, monitored the whole saga when in opposition and can now probably give you chapter and verse on the final outturn. Please click on the following link for an earlier PoolTooSmall report :-
PoolTooSmall is pleased to commend to you Cllr Mike Wakely's Letter in today's Review, his first there since becoming Deputy Executive Leader of SADC.Please click on :- for the whole letter.Our summary of this Structural Engineer's view is published below.
"Action not just words. Impressive action by the public sector compared to the private.During election canvassing , 2 concerns St Peter's Street retail loss and inadequate size of Westminster Lodge high cost pool. With full apppreciation to Simon (Ramage), Willmott Dixon's Project Manager , a deal to widen the main pool to 10 lanes has been finalised within existing budget. Expanding the size of pool will be paid for by cutting
back unnecessarily high cost of materials of the (LD) plans. A 25% increase in the main pool plus making the the gym changing rooms multi-use provides future proofing to meet predicted demand from St.Albans' growing population. The defeated (previous) administration's own numbers showed the planned pool was not big enough to meet local demand for swimming. In addition , as a 3rd stage of it's "root and branch review " the new administration is challenging the old (LD) administration's acceptance of the new service road through car parks, twice across footpaths and blighting expansion potential of the Abbey Theatre to find a more efficient and likely cheaper solution off Holywell Hill. If the pool widening had been done 10 months ago , it would have halved the cost. If the defeated administration had listened 2 years ago , the Lodge could have been regenerated for £15 million not £25 million . The LD's response is to try and delay this futureproofing by "calling in" the cabinet decision on the business plan, risking more cost for residents. Their excuse - not enough review of the process of expanding the pool. Well, residents' votes in the election seem to prove them very wrong."
PoolTooSmall comments. We have no political status and report events as we see them. We do commend Cllr Wakely in his capacity as a professional structural engineer together with colleagues, for excellent prompt action in their first 4 weeks in office . What a breath of fresh air- professional engineering action replacing years of misguided political dogma!
to round off the week ,here is a view of construction operations taken from the steps of our existing Leisure Centre. It shows the corner of the site, junction of Mud Lane and Holywell Hill , where the 10 lane Main Pool will be . Three JCB's , one dumper truck and the hard hat men of WDCL all going at it . Left hand JCB shows reinforcement grids being laid at the intersection of 10 lane Main Pool and the 17 metre Learner Pool. It looks mayhem but in fact it is very logical indeed .Keep up the good work lads !


posted 7 Jul 2011, 08:49 by David Gilroy

PoolTooSmall Founder David Gilroy follows up recent Press coverage with his own take - published below in full.

SIR- Futureproofing New Lodge Main Pool is Vital and Good Value for Money.

On behalf of campaign group PoolTooSmall may I commend Madeleine Burton’s report in last week’s Herts Advertiser ,9 June 2011 page 3, regarding the New Lodge Project following the first new Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 7th June. It was absolutely right that new Council leader Cllr Julian Daly ,deputy leader Mike Wakely, Cabinet and officers carried out the promised “root and branch “ review of the Project . Cllrs Daly and Wakely are finance and structural engineering experts respectively- excellent leaders to drive this project through. May I address what Cllr Daly means by futureproofing. It means “to provide facilities to adequately meet future customer demand for the lifetime of the resource “ probably many decades ( 50 years say). The Council are wise to balance the project costs over a 35 year period.The Main Pool is the “Jewel in the Crown” and it is now generally accepted that a 25 metre by 8 lane pool would be overloaded early in it’s lifetime – resulting in queues out the door and down Mud Lane- unacceptable. However, using ONS statistics , it is quite clear that a 25 metre by 10 lane pool would give, in my expert opinion, overload free Main Pool service at the Lodge site for several,at least 3, decades.

As reported by you on your front page 16th June 2011,the whole project team has done fantastically well in under 4 weeks to agree the vital key lane change increase to 10 lanes with main contractor Willmott Dixon Construction Ltd (WDCL) and within budget. WDCL has shown flexibility and pragmatism in the face of tough and changing circumstances and is delivering to us the people- nothing wrong with British industry here!

Finally, let’s get this all in perspective . We, the people, are all winners this time but the greatest winner of all is our democracy . Without the Press to support us the ordinary people, I would not be writing this today. Long may it continue. PoolTooSmall will continue to monitor and report on the New Lodge project both on site and off until , God willing , we reach a safe and successful New Lodge opening in 2012.

Yours sincerely,

Eur. Ing. David L.Gilroy. M.Sc. C.Eng. MIET. Chartered Engineer.

A founder of PoolTooSmall at

The picture above taken from outside the site gates on 20 June 2011 shows the New Lodge foundations including lift shafts . Full steam ahead by Main contractor Willmott Dixon and subcontractors Cooney , Mitchell and more- well done lads!

The New Lodge project will run and run hopefully for the next 50 years as the Press react this week to the big 10 lane news.

First up this week then go to page 4.

The snap photocall on Monday shows some Lodge lane swimmers and the 3 founders of PoolTooSmall with Ingrid's latest sawn-off "YES" placard - we keep the shotgun hidden! Please read the article above in full for our reaction but also that of former Portfolio Holder Cllr Anthony Rowlands - still deluding himself about the "minority" - actually all the voters ,that voted so decisively on 5th May 2011 to remove his group from power. To set the record straight, yet again, please click on our statement of last year:-

The difference between PoolTooSmall and Cllr Rowlands is clear:-

PoolTooSmall delivers facts not opinions and, even better, delivers results not excuses!

Minority , Cllr Rowlands ? You are the minority because the voters said so .

It's as simple as that!


posted 6 Jul 2011, 12:21 by David Gilroy


Why on earth would PoolTooSmall founders David and Ingrid Gilroy be visiting a leisure centre in Dagenham , East London yesterday? Opened just 2 weeks ago it it has probably the country's largest 25metre swimming pool - in fact it is square with half of it having a moveable floor! With ten lanes - the same as now being constructed for us in St.Albans, we witnessed it for ourselves. Under the water and under foot you would hardly know the part that is moveable - all 25 metres of it. The transition from the fixed 2 metre depth to the moveable section is smooth .It was busy with 93 in the water , peak of 120 earlier, all taken in it's stride! Congratulations to Dagenham Council , Leadbitter construction and architect S&P , for delivering a very popular venue!

More later.


We report from multiple sources tonight - PoolTooSmall supporters and the Press.

Michael A in Berlin, Sheila M in Spain, Alan G in Devon and the locals - Jacky D, Big Bob, Adrian , Margy , Max & Val , Stephen M , Paul R & C , Paula G, Tufty T , Curly H , Michael M , Molly M all have weighed in fast on line and by phone to salute the new 10 lane decision. Vital for our public leisure waterspace future! The Press have done us proud these last nearly 2 years. They are key to the democracy that reports us, the people, without fear or favour.Links below :-

Picture above shows the new centre site as of 17 June 2011- a hive of activity!

More later also please see Annoucements , click on the left, now.


posted 23 Jun 2011, 03:02 by David Gilroy

PoolTooSmall tonight celebrates it's greatest moment since its birth in December 2009 as SADC and British Industry deliver to the people of St.Albans in style! First the Press Release on:-

New Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre to get two extra swimming lanes-15 June 2011.

The development of the new Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre has been reviewed following concerns expressed by St Albans City and District Council’s incoming Cabinet about the need for additional public water space in the District.At a meeting on 7 June, Cabinet agreed to continue with the Leisure Centre development following an independent review. Cabinet members acknowledged the need for increased water space to meet forecast demand. They noted that it would be possible to extend the planned 25m x 8 lane pool to a 10 lane pool within the budget, if savings were made elsewhere on the project.Appropriate savings have now been identified and agreed with building contractor, Willmott Dixon. Therefore the main swimming pool is to be extended from 25m x 8 lanes to 25m x 10 lanes, providing a further 100m2 of water space.There is insufficient space to retain the poolside health suite, though there is a spa facility elsewhere in the centre. Further savings were found by working together with the construction team to change those construction materials and finishes which are expected to have a minimum effect on the ongoing running costs.In view of industry forecasts of reductions in the cost of PV panels, these will be removed from the works for now, with the expectation they can be installed for a lower cost at a later date.Overall there will be an approximate 25% increase to the main pool, but costs will be kept within the agreed budget.Cllr Mike Wakely Portfolio Holder for Sports, Leisure and Heritage and a Civil Engineer commented: “We believe in actions not words. Within the first four weeks of its formation, the new Cabinet has completed the second stage of its 'root and branch' review of Westminster Lodge.“To make major changes to engineering works is extremely challenging at any time, but particularly so while the building’s piled foundations are being built. However with full appreciation to Willmott Dixon's project manager and all involved, a deal to widen the main pool to ten lanes has been finalised. “I am particularly pleased that we will retain the moveable floor which means we can provide an extensive programme of swimming lessons, plus a full depth competition pool.”

Member contact:
Cllr Mike Wakely, Portfolio Holder for Sports Leisure and Heritage
St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01582 764688

PoolTooSmall's technical expert comments:- "The 2 extra lanes are vital for all of us to enjoy overload free service in the Main Pool for certainly 30 years and probably more - we call it futureproofing . Instead of a "dead in the water " 8 lane pool with queues out the door soon enough , we now have the extra swimming space for our children, grandchildren and theirs yet to be born. The new 10 laner gives us a Maximum Bather Load of 177 compared with the present Lodge of 133 . ( An 8 laner gives you only 142 - insufficient). Let us now turn to the remarkable transformation with the New Lodge project and the key players. In just over 3 weeks since taking office SADC Executive leaders Cllrs Daly and Wakely sat down with the whole project team to make critical changes fast before it was too late with the construction contract running. So the PoolTooSmall accolades tonight go to the whole project team including officers , consultants Deloitte & assoiciates also S&P architects but critically Main Contractor Willmott Dixon Construction Ltd (WDCL). WDCL has shown flexibility and pragmatism in adapting to a new client and some tough changes to the specification. Well done lads ,we are proud of you - see you on site soon!


PoolTooSmall is pleased to reproduce in full the following SADC Press Release.

"St Albans City and District Council’s Cabinet has decided to proceed with the Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre development and to look into increasing the number of lanes in the swimming pool from eight to ten within the existing budget.The move follows an independent review of the project’s business case which was instigated after the local elections in May by the incoming Cabinet.
At a meeting on 7 June, Cabinet considered a report setting out the findings of the review and the cost of not to proceeding with the current development.
It noted the likely impact of a lower level of gym membership. However, it considered that if the debt repayment were spread over at least 35 years the development could be made viable.

Cabinet also acknowledged the need for increased water space to meet forecast demand and noted that it was possible to extend the planned eight lane 25 m pool to a ten lane pool within the budget, if savings were made elsewhere on the project.
After debating the report in detail, Cabinet agreed to proceed with the current development, and requested the Head of Community Services to consider revising the plans to provide for a ten lane pool."
Cllr Mike Wakely, Portfolio Holder for Sports Leisure and Heritage for St Albans City and District Council, said: “Cabinet has considered the business plan and identified actions which are needed to make the project viable. We have also requested that an option to increase the number of lanes in the pool from eight to ten is pursued subject to agreement with Willmott Dixon that it can be done within the existing budget.”
Member contacts:
Cllr Julian Daly, Executive Leader
St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01582 715645

Cllr Mike Wakely, Portfolio Holder for Sports Leisure and Heritage
St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01582 764688 Mobile: 07778639381

Read in full on the following links:-

1. The full report on review into the into the Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre development is available on the Council’s website.

2. A webcast of the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, 7 June can be accessed via the Council’s website.

PoolTooSmall comments.From all the documents shown above plus our own recent on site experience we wish to thank Cllr Julian Daly's new team for all their obvious hard work but especially behind the scenes officers, consultants and main contractor ,on site and off, Willmott Dixon Constuction Ltd ( WDCL). There has clearly been a willingness all round to address vital waterspace changes - we applaud your flexibility and pray you will find a good solution that "futureproofs" us for many decades.
Finally , we wish to thank WDCL site manager Simon and his team under the considerate constructor scheme with their willingness to address change and share information.Good hard hat culure. A lorry oil spill on the road outside the Lodge fast cleared up by 2 WDCL staff - well done lads! Picture shows the view from the entrance of the present Lodge last week.
More later.


posted 17 Jun 2011, 14:08 by David Gilroy

Just one month ago nobody could have dreamed that the Electorate would hand down judgement in such emphatic fashion on a Council administration that , after 20 years of more or less continous power , has passed it's sell by date . The people had had enough of the failed Newbodge plans thus far and demanded a new broom . This was mandated by the people on 5th May 2011.It now falls to Executive Leader Cllr Julian Daly and ,fittingly, deputy Executive Leader and Structural Engineer Mike Wakely to set out their agenda. Have they listened to us?
Time is short to change the contract but it is still eminently feasible to do so. We expect a bigger Main Pool and a fresh look overall - that is the challenge for the new Council team - we believe you won't fail us. In May 2012 the people will again pass judgement on the Council - never forget who gives the Councillors their power and who can take it away !
Please click on the link below for details of next Tuesday's Cabinet meeting - 7pm on Tuesday 7th June 2011.
PoolTooSmall wishes to thank the Herts Advertiser for their even- handed coverage of the Great Lodge Saga over the last 20 months or so as they publish yet more today on their Page 10 . Two pieces - one Parking Plight and another by David Gilroy reproduced here .

"SIR:-May I congratulate you on publishing letters , not just from PoolTooSmall supporters , but also from many people including our Councillors from right across the political and social spectrum.It is all part of our democracy and it was clearly reflected last Election Day Thursday 5th May 2011. A new District Council administration begins work today 19 May and we hope they review all projects across the board, not just Westminster Lodge, and bring in sensible change for the better, where appropriate, together with Value for Money.We live in momentous times – this is the first major ruling party change at SADC in 20 years. My family and I attended Mayor Making last night for the first time – an enjoyable and historic occasion that has stood the test of centuries.

I just pray the new team have courage and wisdom , listen to the people and rule to benefit all our people,our children , grandchildren and theirs yet to be born.

Yours sincerely,

David Gilroy. "

In the meantime ,let's all give Cllr Daly's new Council team and Main Contractor Willmott Dixon Construction Ltd and their advisors every support now to finally get the New Lodge specification right and drive ahead together .The people are watching all of you as you make the crunch decisions that will affect our key centre for the next half a century .

Don't fail us - it's as simple as that.


posted 17 Jun 2011, 14:02 by David Gilroy


Just in on our hotline a new subscriber Mr AT of St.Albans writes :-

"I am a regular swimmer at Westminster Lodge using the lane swimming sessions to keep fit so I'm very interested in what is going on and would support a larger pool proposal."

PoolTooSmall comments . Thank you and welcome aboard, Sir! Enjoy our website . Remember we have no political status and present the situation as we see it. We are here for you 24/7/365. For more recent stories please click on Announcements to the left of this page.


posted 15 Jun 2011, 02:38 by David Gilroy   [ updated 15 Jun 2011, 02:40 ]

What a difference a day makes after the people of St.Albans handed down judgement on yesterday's Newbodge Council politicians. In power for years and offering us an inadequate, politically driven Westminster Bodge "Pig in a Poke". They are now gone and PoolTooSmall welcomes a new broom in the Council Chamber that we hope we can do business with . Our case is unassailable as we now develop an affordable new Westminster Lodge specification we can all trust and deliver.
Our thanks go to all the Westminster Lodge swimmers , divers, Mums , Dads , Schools, 50+ and families who never gave up hope that we deserved better - and we will get it!
Detailed election results for St.Albans District Council are on this link :-


posted 9 Jun 2011, 04:22 by David Gilroy

19 MAY 2011.
Please click here for the link:-
A new Executive Leader, Cllr Julian Daly, has been elected by St Albans City and District Council at its annual meeting on May 18. The move follows the district council elections on May 5.
Council also noted that the Executive Leader, Cllr Julian Daly, has appointed five councillors to serve in the Council’s Cabinet alongside him with the following responsibilities:
• Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles – Portfolio Holder for Environment
• Cllr Brian Ellis – Portfolio Holder for Housing
• Cllr Teresa Heritage – Portfolio Holder for Planning and Conservation
• Cllr Beric Read – Portfolio Holder for Community Engagement and Localism
• Cllr Mike Wakely – Portfolio Holder for Sport, Leisure and Heritage

Cllr Daly will chair Cabinet and also take on the role of Portfolio Holder for Resources.

He said: “I am honoured to take up the role of Executive Leader of the Council. We will run a Council which listens to and engages with councillors of all parties and makes good use of the skills of residents.”


As a campaign group having no political status we are delighted to congratulate Cllr Julian Daly and his team on their election . We pray they will listen to all of us - residents , councillors of all persuasions and our families and bring about change for the better. This is not the time or place for points scoring. It's time for hope and a time for action. The people delivered their verdict on 5th May 2011. New Council Team ,you have a mandate to get stuck in ! We wish you well!

Out of the blocks fast following last night's Mayor Making Ceremony the Hertsad were revealing online today the new Council team's priorities on the following link:-

"Problems with the planning service and a fresh look at the Westminster Lodge leisure centre scheme are top priorities for the new Conservative administration of St Albans council which took the reins last night. Cllr Julian Daly was elected as leader of the council. He said he would be meeting with council chief executive Daniel Goodwin and head of culture and development Richard Schwe to “get our teeth straight into Westminster Lodge” - the new St Albans leisure centre scheme which has generated an outcry from supporters of a larger pool."

Elsewhere in the Hertsad hard copy version, page 10 today, they carry a piece by newly elected Cllr Steve Bowes-Phipps entitled " Villages' Revenge"-all about Bricket Wood closure and Westminster Lodge - well said and welcome Sir! On page 11, senior correspondent Philip Webster also weighs in yet again re the Lodge and more .
Hats off to all of you, editors , councillors and people as a new era dawns - the real winner is democracy - let us never forget it!
Go to fullsize imageWhat on earth has the above to do with PoolTooSmall and it's supporters? Plenty. For the first time in decades you will be able to witness the most unforseen transfer of power in the St.Albans Council Chamber. Not only will you see the handover of the Seals of Office of the Mayor and Deputy but the high drama of hopefully the appointment of a new Leader of Council and Cabinet and perhaps 8 totally new key Portfolio Holders . Massive personnel changes indeed!
This is the business end of what we the people voted last Thursday 5th May 2011 - a vote for change. Time for you to exercise your democratic right on the night to meet , lobby, congratulate or even console your Councillors , old or new , incoming or outgoing. These are the people who we are now entrusting with a fresh mandate to tackle the Newbodge fiasco.
Never ever forget , or let them forget , that they are elected to serve us the people and not the other way round!
This should be a joyous family occasion with a serious bite to it. Please wear or bring a homemade PoolTooSmall sticker , optional snorkel , bathing cap or swimming goggles! The PoolTooSmall photographers will be there for our website .

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