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In the Press: Artists Impressions and Zombie Pools

posted 14 May 2010, 13:54 by Mike M   [ updated 16 May 2010, 07:05 ]
This week the Review carries "Artist impressions of new Westminster Lodge in St Albans". The pictures look lovely- and expensive- as the products of an ambitious architectural imagination always do, though The Review also reminds its readers that there are some of us who are less concerned with the outside of the new building: "Most of the objections related to the eight-lane pool which campaigners said was too small". Also this week the Review carries an interesting letter from Bob Goodall "Why not put sale off?" in which he questions the validity of Council selling Ridgeview Lodge to provide part of the funding for the new project.

The Herts Advertiser meanwhile has a letter from Philip Webster (see "Lodge shame" in "Letters Edition May 13") in which he expresses his anger at the recent planning go-ahead, and there is also an intriguing piece: "Did Bricket Wood close too soon?". Amongst other things this article reports claims that the lease on Bricket Wood does not actually expire until 2014 and, most extraordinarily, that "It appears that responsibility for upkeep of the pool is still retained by Leisure Connection with staff from the company continuing to visit the pool on a regular basis to check the water purity and conduct safety checks" (please, if anyone can confirm this, do let us know). Surely it can't be that an un-used 'zombie pool' is being maintained by stealth behind closed doors? The article further reports that a council spokesperson said "There was also a need for Bricket Wood Sports Centre to close to enable the provisioning of funding for the re-development of Wesminster Lodge". So... let's see: We're going to demolish the existing money making Westminster lodge, and in order to afford a £27 million gleaming new architectural triumph to replace it (that will house inadequate water space) we have to sell off various assets, close an existing pool (while perhaps at the same time keeping it running behind closed doors) and borrow substantially, all at a time of widely acknowledged national financial crisis. Surely some mistake?