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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.
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!

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! 
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.
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 www.swimathon.org 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 http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/stalbansrfc/news/dave-gilroy-receives-lifetime-1113578.html 
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 www.pooltoosmall.com  in a few days’ time. 

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.
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.