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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.