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NEW LODGE CAR PARK WORKING PARTY (NLCPWP) IN CYBERSPACE ? 16 September 2014.
Is this local democracy at it's worst - asks PoolTooSmall ? Two full calendar months ago full Council no less ,voted the setting up of this WP because many end user groups at Westminster Lodge are being financially hammered by the "2 hour rule" . Sales are down across the board together with a general feeling of resentment that no one at the top is listening never mind paying attention and acting.
Time to get a grip Executive leadership - why do we bother to vote you in?

NEW LODGE CAR PARKING  WORKING PARTY GOES AHEAD 16 JULY 2014.
What a night was had by Councillors at full Council last night when former Mayor Cllr Roma Mills' ( picture top left)) proposal for a working group to study New Lodge car park charging went through. It was only after an, at times, attritional debate dividing on political lines , with Mayor Cllr Geoff Harrison casting his decisive vote in favour of the working party - well done Sir! Supporting the proposal was another former Mayor Cllr Eileen Harris (bottom left) who readers will recall opened the New Lodge in October 2012.
Many questions are now unanswered - who will chair the Working Group ,who will attend it and what it's terms of reference will be?Here at PoolTooSmall we are pleased that democracy in St.Albans is alive and kicking - we are fully behind a reversion to 3 hours free parking - it's simply how it is managed logistically and financially- which is what the Working Party should be all about.This issue is not going away for a long while yet - for the latest links and news 
get them  here on www.pooltoosmall.com soon!
And here is the link to last night's Council debate :-
http://www.stalbans.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/126209
Go in 2 hours and 35 minutes and see and hear it all including the Mayor's casting vote.
It feels like the old days again- more later when we know details of the working party - the devil is in the detail.



NEW LODGE CAR PARKING ISSUE TO BE RAISED AT FULL COUNCIL 16 JULY 2014.
Well done Councillors Roma Mills and Eileen Harris for raising this issue this coming Wednesday 16 July 2014 at full Council.The formal notice on the SADC website reads :-
To be proposed by Councillor Mills and seconded by Councillor Harris:-  
“That Council notes the widespread public dissatisfaction with the reduction of the free parking period at Westminster Lodge from 3 hours to 2 hours and the impact that this is having on a number of groups.This Council therefore calls upon the Cabinet to convene a working group to review this reduction in free parking and to report back to Cabinet in October 2014”.
For more background please read our reports below on the front page of this website.
More on this and pictures soon.

NEW LODGE CAR PARKING  RIP OFF.
PLEASE VOTE IN SADC ELECTIONS THURSDAY 22ND MAY 2014.
This is arguably the most important day in our local lives when we vote Councillors in and out.Let’s be absolutely clear about the politics of this New Lodge car parking rip off and who is behind it. It is Cllr Julian Daly’s Conservative group and no-one else who forced a vote through Council , at the second attempt for 2 hours free not 3, last Autumn 2013. The other 3 SADC party leaders Green Cllr Simon Grover,Liberals Cllr Chris White and Labour Cllr Martin Leach all stated they support reverting to the 3 hours free that has prevailed at the Lodge for decades.
So what should a resident do now to get a change back to 3 hours free? Simply vote at the local SADC elections on Thursday 22nd May 2014 for a candidate of the above 3 parties Green or Liberal or Labour. If you want your financial misery at the Lodge to continue then vote for Cllr Julian Daly’s Conservatives as they “monitor” the discontent they have created.
Always remember that the 58 elected councillors at SADC are there to serve us not themselves or their political dogma. We didn’t vote for councillors to kick us in the teeth and sometimes when they do , the electorate should step up ,as they did in May 2011, and make the necessary changes.
It’s as simple as that.The Electorate willing ,let’s pray we wake up with a better SADC on Friday 23rd May 2014 than we had the day before!
 
Who you vote for is your affair – you can only make the difference by going the extra mile and voting on Thursday 22nd May 2014.
BANK MONDAY PHOTOCALL AT NEW LODGE CAR PARK -5TH MAY 2014.






It was like the old days yesterday as PoolTooSmall displayed their placards this time calling for re-instatement of 3 hours free parking instead of 2. The Press were there so lookout later in the week for a report and picture in the local paper. We had our camera there too so here are  a few pictures - can you spot the Meter Maid - no not Ingrid Gilroy.Pictured far right , he's a cheerful soul who refers everyone to the Council. Quite right too as it's Cllr Julian Daly's Conservatives exclusively who have upset a whole raft of different groups with their "2 hour" regime.
STOP PRESS. Another displeased group - the visitors to and worshippers at our glorious Cathedral of St.Alban.
POOLTOOSMALL COMMENT.We don't demonstrate for fun- Cllr Daly and his Conservative group have not thought this issue through and it's long term consequences. Residents can hand down judgement on election day soon.
VOTE WITH YOUR FEET ON THURSDAY 22ND MAY 2014 .
NEW LODGE CAR PARKING CHARGE – 4 SADC PARTY LEADERS STATE THEIR POSITION – 25TH APRIL  2014. 
On 20th April 2014 PoolTooSmall asked the 4 current SADC party leaders  in no more than 20 words would they :- 
EITHER  retain the current “ 2 hour free ”  regime  
OR ,as residents overwhelmingly want , an immediate reversion to the “3 hours free” regime that has prevailed for decades.
We wanted a crisp bottom line without waffle. Here are the results.
GREEN PARTY LEADER CLLR SIMON GROVER said :-
“Speaking for myself, I did not support the change to a 2 hour free limit, and would support reverting to a 3 hour limit.”
 
LABOUR PARTY LEADER CLLR MARTIN LEACH said:-
“The St Albans District Labour Group supports the reintroduction of three hours free parking at Westminster Lodge. “
 
LIBERAL LEADER CLLR CHRIS WHITE SAID :-
“We opposed the changes to Westminster Lodge parking in our budget proposals and continue to do so. It should be three hours free.”

CONSERVATIVE LEADER CLLR JULIAN DALY well exceeded the 20 word limit to make a long statement.
Cllr Daly appears to be supporting his party’s “2 hours free then  £2 for the 3rd hour” and we extract from his statement:-
“The alternative to freeing up space is frustrated and disappointed people who find there is nowhere to park.
The car park has not been 'managed' before, so we will monitor the impact of the change going forward.”

POOLTOOSMALL COMMENT.
 
We have already listed elsewhere on this website the different groups being hammered by the “2 hour” rule and this will continue indefinitely  unless , as many residents want, there is a reversion to the “3 hour rule” which prevailed at Westminster Lodge car park for decades. Some believe that “freeing up space” is not the motive at all but simply political dogma in milking a cash cow . Residents do not elect councillors who then turn round and hit them financially AND ruin the quality of their leisure by putting them under time pressure. There is only one way to revert to the old “3 hours” in the near future and that is to vote on Thursday 22nd May 2014 for candidates that support this policy.
 
As you see from the 4 SADC leaders’ statements above only one party , Cllr Daly’s Conservative Party, is deliberately hitting you in the pocket on this issue now.
The other 3 parties , Cllr Grover’s Green Party, Cllr White’s Liberals and Cllr Leach’s Labour party would all revert to the “3 hour rule”.Enough said.
STOP PRESS. We now have ALL the candidates and their parties. Please click below then select your ward by scrolling down.

We live in a democracy – who you vote for is your affair – we simply present you with information to get the result that YOU want. 
You don’t have to have endless financial misery at the New Lodge car park – you can vote it out on Thursday 22nd May 2014 by electing a candidate that thinks YOUR way! 
NEW LODGE PARKING CHARGE RESENTMENT IS MOUNTING -19 APRIL 2014.
When Cllr Daly’s group on SADC forced through the “2 hour free then £2 for the 3rd hour “ a few months back at the second attempt, they knew that the wholesale resentment would only begin on 1st April 2014. And here we are on 19th April 2014 , and the list of end users resenting this exorbitant milking of the St.Albans New Lodge Car Park Cash Cow is getting longer by the day . PoolTooSmall people have been on site at Westminster Lodge for decades and here is our list of complainants so far.
 
PoolTooSmall membership including swimmers.
Salmon Club.
Abbey Theatre general meeting and theatre performance goers.
Abbey View Golf Club.
School coach/bus operators.
50+ Club/ Water Aerobics.
St.Albans Striders.
New Lodge Creche private carers and individual parents.
Sports Hall/Badminton groups.
Sunday football clubs .
Verulamian Park and Bistro users.
New Lodge Full Members with annual membership.
St.Albans Cathedral visitors and worshippers.
 
The £2 for the third hour also wrecks the “quality time” feeling  people expect. Having to get in and get out in 2 hours is totally against the ethos of Westminster Lodge as a relaxed Jewel in the St Albans  Leisure Crown. This is a political “smash and grab “ raid where residents take serious cash consequences.This will cost some individual customers in excess of £300 per annum-unacceptable.
Further, we imagine it is very bad for business for the New Lodge operator.He tries to sell a membership and the deal is ruined by the car park charges which could be bigger than annual membership! Coffee in the bistro ? You must be joking – the Meter Maid is writing my £50 penalty notice now! 
Everyone we have spoken to supports a reversion immediately to 3 hours free – so how do we achieve this? By only voting for Council candidates that support this policy. On Thursday 22nd May 2014 we go to the Polls to elect 17 Councillors.

If you want to continue to be hammered by these new charges then vote for Cllr Daly’s  perpetrators. On the other hand you may wish to vote for a candidate that will revert to the “3 hours free” that existed for decades before.
The new charging regime is a kick in the teeth for both residents and the New lodge operator – this issue will not go quietly.
 
On Thursday 22nd May 2014 you the reader might be inclined to exercise your democratic right and vote with your feet – remember May SADC Elections 2011 shock result!
FITNESS TAX HITS NEW LODGE CAR PARK -1ST APRIL 2014.
Sorry - it's not an All Fools Day prank but the ruling group at SADC has rolled this political football out again.It was dubbed "Fitness Tax" by a Councillor 2 years ago as it now costs more to park than for a New Lodge Membership! The 3 hours free parking at Westminster Lodge is now gone and is replaced by 2 hours free. If you want an extra hour it will cost you 2 pounds.If you over run it will cost you a £50 fine.This has not gone down well with anybody using the New Lodge . Already in the Press the St Albans Golf Club are up in arms about it and the running club St Albans Striders are not best pleased . Needless to say PoolTooSmall members are going to feel the pinch.And it's bad for business at the New Lodge flagship - people will go elsewhere .
For example,If you need to use a car  4 times a week at the Lodge and require more than 2 hours it could 
cost you in excess of £300 per annum in car park charges.This makes a mockery of the £99 swimming bargain that over 60's get at the New Lodge - or the creche bargain for young families.
Candidates in next month's SADC elections had better be prepared for residents to vote with their feet on this issue .
Here at PoolTooSmall we say " No to the Fitness Tax - reinstate the 3 hours free parking now"!
So if YOU have an opinion please let us hear it on the hotline as always newpooltoosmall@ntlworld.com   Thank you.
NEW LODGE OPERATOR SLM HOSTS THEIR REGIONAL TOUCH RUGBY TOURNAMENT AGAIN -1ST MAY 2014.


SLM SE Regional Director Duncan repeated last years' tournament with 14 teams scrapping it out in Verulamium Park . The sky was dark with a rumble of thunder and the barbie was switched from Verulamium's luscious turf to the New Lodge itself (pic). Your reporter David Gilroy , a RFU touch judge with a sodden camera ,managed to record Westminster Warriors as they got through the League phase with just one defeat from 5.
In the lead at that stage was Duncan's Regional Allstars undefeated with Westminster Warriors second .
The Fashion contest was won by Watford Woodside's Matthew Nicholson with the Lodge's Steve Cox coming in a close second.
THE TEAMS.
Watford,Sutton,Westminster Warriors  (St.A),Drm Team,Spelthorne,Fareham,Regional Allstars,Epping,Ealing,Havering,Basildon,Havant?,Aylesbury and E.Herts.

THE REFEREES.
Tom F blew the whistle from 12.30 pm start until the final itself- he must be training for the World Cup!
Also on another 2 pitches Luke C,Sean M, JJ, Duncan J, James B, AdamE, and Mark F.

THE RESULTS.
WINNER (GOLD) . REGIONAL ALLSTARS.
RUNNER UP (SILVER) . EALING BRENTAND HARROW.
3RD (BRONZE) WESTMINSTER WARRIORS.
4TH. WATFORD WOODSIDE.

New Lodge General Manager Lesley Garner rounds off the day.

The final was between the Regional Allstars and EBH ( Ealing Brent & Harrow ). The match was brilliant with a fine selection of proper rugby players male and female alike! It ended as a draw at full time whistle so the ‘ next goal wins ‘ was adopted. JJ Eramus, Regional Sales Manager touched down the final ball to win the tournament for Duncan and his regional team. The Lodge were very happy with the third (bronze) position, no injuries for us on the day, just lots leading up to the event.Fantastic performances from our Lodge speedy superstars Kyle, Steve and Reece all helping beat arch rivals Watford Woodside in the 3rd/4th place playoff.

The celebrations in the evening continued with the Lodge up for 3 award nominations. F&B, Colleague of the Year, and Centre of the Year. We were worthy winners of the F&B Team of the Year, true testament to all the hard work Chloe and her fabulous team do in the Bistro. Our aim for next year is to have double the nominations and double winning trophies.


CLICK BELOW FOR ANNOUNCEMENTS OF EARLIER REPORTS.
INTRODUCTION. 
Reported here early in 2010.
St. Albans District Council plan to replace Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre with a new swimming and leisure complex on the same site. The new centre will have a 25 metre by 8 lane main pool, no diving boards and no flumes. We are enthusiastic at the prospect of a new facility, but we believe that the current plans do not specify enough pool space for the district's existing needs, particularly given the recent Bricket Wood closure, and that the proposed new facility cannot possibly provide sufficient water space to meet the ever increasing demand of the coming decades (see our handy visual guide to changes in the district's water space).
The new project now has planning permission (you can read our account of the planning meeting here). Tendering has been completed , and a total fiasco erupted with chosen contractor Michael McNamara Co having gone bust on Thursday 11th November 2010. The SADC in house political team showed their continuing technical and managerial incompetence by not finding the £1billion McNamara debt after 5 months investigation  whereas PoolTooSmall found it online in 30 seconds!
And by early 2011.
SADC signed a contract with Willmott Dixon Construction Ltd in February 2011 to build the St.Albans NEWBODGE - a poisoned chalice for the people of St.Albans to tolerate and pay for over the next several decades. Read why the St.Albans NEWBODGE  was at the time  Unfit for Purpose ,a White Elephant or a Pig in a Poke on this website. But mercifully there was a dramatic transformation for the better!
On 5th May 2011 , there was a complete change of Council management following local elections. New Cabinet led by Cllr Daly immediately swung into action with a "root and branch " review of the New Lodge Project. Read more on our headlines above and under "announcements" as the new situation unfolds. What an improvement it has been since May 2011as Deputy Executive Leader of SADC , Leisure Portfolio Holder and structural engineer Cllr Mike Wakely sat down with officers then Willmott Dixon to produce a brilliant expansion of the new Main Pool by 25% ! It is now built in re-inforced concrete and has passed it's water retention test. It's all systems go on the New Lodge site .
 
And by early 2012.
Only last week - construction of the new service road  off Holywell Hill began - another central plank in our campaign achieved! Stay tuned here to the PoolTooSmall website - the only website to bring you regular weekly/fortnightly reports and pictures of all the happenings on site and ,crucially sometimes, in the Council Chamber. Bookmark us NOW!
 
3rd MAY 2012.
It's that time of year again to have YOUR SAY on local developments by voting for a councillor of YOUR choice in District Elections.
 
PLEASE VOTE ON THURSDAY 3RD MAY 2012 IN DISTRICT ELECTIONS- IT'S YOUR DEMOCRATIC RIGHT!
 
For general details of our campaign please see the following:
Our handy visual guide to changes in the district's water space, and accounts of current overcrowding in pool too full 
 
We are here for you 24/7  on newpooltoosmall@ntlworld.com  Let us know what you think.