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posted 20 Apr 2011, 06:58 by David Gilroy   [ updated 20 Apr 2011, 07:19 ]
Please brace yourselves, readers, for a financial shock coming soon to your pockets! The St. Albans District Council (SADC) IN HOUSE  New Lodge/Bodge Project team don’t want  you the public to read  the raw, unadulterated financial reality of this fatally flawed scheme. So here it is ahead of District Council Elections on Thursday 5th May 2011. I am writing this as a founder of campaign group PoolTooSmall on and also as a professional engineering systems and project manager for several decades.

The key question is “ For the WHOLE NEWBODGE CENTRE to be self- financing, as SADC say it will be,  how much will customers have to pay in year one, say , to cover all the capital debt, interest charges and running costs ?

In summary, the answer is derived from SADC documents and sensible estimates as follows:-

Total project cost from years 2004- 2014 , £25 million less £6 million “borrowed” from Housing/Ridgeview Homeless budget =£19 Million.

“Prudential Borrowing” interest rate- 4.85% pa. Amortisation period -straight line capital repayment over 25 years .

Year one Operating costs ie staff, overheads , spares etc = £1.06 Million.

So year 1 capital repayment is £760k and interest is £921k .

Add up all these outgoings for just year 1 :- 760k+921k+1060k=2741k= £2.741 Million!

That is  WITHOUT paying back any of the £6 Million from the housing/homeless budget! The financial nightmare now begins for SADC and it’s Site Operator– if it can find one. Current income from the existing Lodge is nowhere near this, so big trouble ahead in a recession with SADC trying to sell us an unfit for purpose, glitzy 25 metre “Pig in a Poke” Main Pool- no diving or flumes whatsoever but a £3 Million SPA for the well to do.

Let me assume that the income to the  “Iconic” New Bodge will be divided broadly into 2 parts.

1)      Regular bookings of School swimming lessons, clubs, companies, franchises (maybe café or SPA) and casual entry by the public.

2)      Various types of long term personal “Membership” ie  swimming only, swim plus gym up to full membership including the SPA etc.

Let me assume that the two parts each provide half of the required £2.741Million ie £1.37 Million.

I do not believe that 1)  £1.37 Million is achievable in the present recession– there simply won’t be the take up- it might bring in somewhat under £1Million . Regarding 2) let me make an optimistic assumption that there will be 1500 full annual memberships of various kinds in 2012 . They have to provide £1.37Million  ie about £ 913 pa  per “average” membership. With currently a Lodge swimming only membership of £212 pa the new “full membership including SPA”  could be around £2000  pa per person for it all to break even! These are dreamland figures – the New Bodge finances are  fatally flawed- it is a financial timebomb about to explode. SADC could easily be up to £1Million income short in year one alone! Not in decades will the Newbodge be “self financing”- look out Council Tax Payer you are in for a very nasty surprise after the coming local District Elections, unless the whole project is reviewed from top to bottom. The people are being kept in the dark  by a disingenuous politically driven IN HOUSE Project Team.

But  District Council Elections are on Thursday 5th May 2011 – time then  to hand down your judgement on the greatest financial travesty in the history of the City of St.Albans. We cannot apparently surcharge the ruling  Councillors responsible for this affront to our intelligence and our pockets  but we can, if we so wish, remove them from office on Thursday 5th May 2011.

Finally,  remember that for much the same spend Luton Aquatic Centre will give their people Olympic 50 metre Swimming and Diving heaven plus all the extras , gym , café etc. Hats off to Luton Aquatic Team – SADC Newbodge IN HOUSE Project Team- the game is up- it’s a Bodge ,sorry , bridge too far!

PoolTooSmall on and email has no political status but we do recommend you vote on Thursday 5th May 2011 – see our website for all the background .

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

20 April 2011.