Pool Too Full

I have put together (below) a selection of extracts from feedback we have received relating to direct experience of pool crowding. There is no conjecture here; I have only used examples where the writer clearly reports a crowding issue based on their own personal experience.

I would add that our feedback also includes many direct personal accounts of appreciation of Westminster Lodge's diving, flumes and extra long (compared to a 25m pool) main pool- though I have not included any of these accounts here. Almost all of the correspondence we received also stated the view that the new proposals would not provide adequate capacity in the future, many also expressing bitter disappointment at the loss of diving and the flumes. Also note that here at PoolTooSmall we have received copies of only about 30% of the total number of letters of objection sent to the planning department prior to the recent planning decision.

Mr P.C. of Dunstable (1st March)

[...] I am a regular user of the Westminster Lodge Pool at least once a week for the last 10 years or so [...] I work in Abbey View at the Serena offices, and like other colleagues avail myself of the facilities at least once a week of a lunch time [...] it is becoming overcrowded, to the point that some colleagues are now going to other pools rather than having to suffer at Westminster lodge. [...]

Mr B.Z. of St. Albans (2nd March)

[...] I use the current pool for training 4 sessions a week and the evening sessions are always a crush.
In the summer holidays (outside lanes sessions) we were turned away on two occasions because the pool was too full [...]

Mr P.H. (5th March)

[...] I was at the pool today and could hardly swim due to the amount of users there. The school groups took up 3/4 of the pool and therefore left no room for the rest of us.
I am a monthly paying member of the pool and use the facility several times a week in my lunch break. Often the pool is very busy and often leads to me curtailing my swim early due to the frustration it causes. [...] the pool has significant use by the schools and is packed each day [...]

Mr A.G. from Exeter (6th March)

[...] I frequently swim at the pool, as part of my recreation during visits to family in the town. Having witnessed the overcrowding myself at peak times in the summer holidays, I am amazed that your proposed pool won't be MUCH bigger [...]

Mr B.C. of St. Albans (7th March)

[...] Even when the pool is not at capacity, the closer to capacity it gets, the more crowded it becomes which impacts on the experience of the swim session. My family and I want to enjoy our swim, we currently have membership to Westminster Lodge, but we will not continue with membership if our swim experience is impacted in a negative way due to overcrowding [...]

Mr E.B. of St.Albans (8th March)

[...] [the pool] is not available [to the general public] at certain times of the week- Saturday mornings from 10:30 to 12:00 it is used for disabled swimmers; Wednesday evening, women only; there are swimming clubs on two other nights; schools also use it for teaching during the day. I would go in swimming more if it was not for these restrictions, but it seems obvious to me that the present pool is already not big enough for the number of groups who want to use it. [...] The present pool is already over crowded at peak times [...]

Mr C.P. (11th March)

[...] I use the complex every day, during lunch hours and in the evenings. The majority of the time the swimming area and gym is overcrowded and I have in fact been turned away from the center because of this. [...]

Ms J.C. of St. Albans (11th March)

[...] (I remember the queues and disappointed would-be-swimmers of summer 2009).

Mrs I.G. of St. Albans (14th March)

[...] Since the Bricket Wood facility was closed on 28th February 2010 we have all noticed a significant increase in numbers using the main pool and this will further load and at times overload the Lodge site from now on. [...]

Mr G.M. of St. Albans (15th March)

[...] I have also noticed a large increase in people at the pool and also at Woodside where I go lane swimming on Monday nights since the closure of the Bricket Wood pool. [...]

Mr N.H. of St. Albans (15th March)

[...] the only way that I could get to go swimming with my son to teach him how to swim better and do some lengths without getting in anyone’s way was to join a local club [...]

Ms J.C. (16th March)

[...] I remember the pool queues on several occasions because I am a regular user of the sports centre and some occasions I was able to go through and use the small pool with my son whereas older kids and parents were turned away from the main pool as it was at capacity [...]

Mrs M.G. of St. Albans (16th March)

[...] I was formally a schools swimming teacher at Westminster Lodge as well as providing group and private lessons.  Thus I feel qualified to comment. Currently I use the pool three times a week for approximately one hour to swim lengths for fitness; I also observe use of the pool at other sessions.  It is well used and even with its less up to date facilities is still much in demand by the public. [...] with the recent closure of The Bricket Wood Pool. I have already observed the impact of increased attendance at Westminster Lodge as a result of this. [...]

Ms L.M. of St. Albans, Mrs A.M. and Mr S.M. (17th March)

[...] My family have been swimming at the centre weekly for over 20 years as residents of the District. [...] As a child I learned to swim in the pool and am now a regular lane swimmer. I have to choose my times carefully to avoid the frequent overcrowding that occurs at much lower capacities than those quoted above [maximum bather loads], which do not allow for proper swimming. [...] Harpenden outdoor 33 metre pool was replaced by the indoor 25 metre pool which is even more crowded than Westminster Lodge. Finally, I note Bricket Wood pool has closed and replacement facilities are needed. [...]

Mr D.G. of St. Albans (18th March)

[...] I, together with other users of WLLC Main Pool, witnessed it full and customers being turned away on more than one occasion. One weekday afternoon, for example, I witnessed the Main Pool overloaded and 10 people in a queue out the main door being turned away by reception staff. [...]

Mr P.B. of St. Albans (25th March)

[...] I work in Central London and due to work and family commitments I can not swim in the mornings, I also find it very difficult to fit time into what are usually very busy weekends, so this only leaves the week day evenings when I can swim. With everything else that goes on at the pool the only evenings I could swim after 7:00 pm were Tuesdays and Thursdays. [...] Tuesdays up until 9:00 pm are now allocated to the swim club that used to use Bricket Wood. So as an adult that works this leaves Thursdays as the only time I can swim between 7:00 and 9:00! This I consider to be totally inadequate and not meeting my needs as a resident. [...]

Ms C.S.-L. of St. Albans (28th March)

[...] I am a regular swimmer at Westminster Lodge Leisure centre and often the pool seems full. [...]

Mr A.T. of St. Albans (30th March)

[...] we used to have 2 pools- BRICKET WOOD. The people and clubs that used to swim at  Bricket Wood have not disappeared, they are now all crowding into Westminster Lodge. [...]

Mr C.S. of St. Albans (1st April)

[...] I regularly use the pool after work and the capacity is often full. [...]

Ms E.H. of St. Albans (3rd April)

[...] I love swimming [...] it is the only sport I feel comfortable with and enjoy. Some mornings the lanes at Westminster Lodge are already very congested and I jokingly say we need traffic lights! [...] I would hope to swim for many years to come but as I get older would like to feel that there are facilities and room for me to swim at my own pace. [...]

Mr O.F. of St. Albans (6th April)

[...] As a regular swimmer @ Westminster Lodge, I had on numerous occasions struggled with congestion in the main pool and even had to return home on a few occasions because of the pool being at maximum capacity [...]

Ms C.B. of St. Albans (8th April)

[...] My family have always enjoyed swimming and  have been using the pool for many years. [...] we have already had to use other pools e.g to get swimming lessons for our children (We now have to travel to Hertfordshire Sports Village). In the beginning of 2009, we began to use the Bricket Wood pool as Westminster Lodge was very crowded.  This has now closed [...]

Mr P.B. of St.Albans (12th April)

[...] My family and I (all five of us) enjoy swimming [...] Have you ever been swimming at peak times? We need a bigger pool otherwise no one will go there [...]

Mr N.B. of St. Albans (13th April)

[...] I swim 3-4 times a week [...] since Bricket Wood shut, I have also noticed a significant increase in people, especially @ 0630 on Tuesdays' and Thursdays - numbers have doubled [...]

Ms K.S. of Watford (16th April)

[...] I have myself, with my grandchildren, been unable to use the present pool because capacity had been reached. [...]

Mr G.D. of St. Albans (17th April)

[...] I use the current pool regularly for lunchtime swims from work and find the lane swimming at peak times restrictive even with the current size [...]. My son also swims for St Albans swimming club and again the facilities currently are only just about adequate. [...]

Ms C.S. of St. Albans (21st April)

[...] I regularly swim at the main pool [...] There are an increasing number of people using the lanes which become crowded [...]

Mr G.F. & Mrs A.F. of St. Albans (24th April)

[...] As regular swimmers, we are writing to voice our opposition to your proposal [...] the current pool is very nearly full, as we can attest from regular visits. [...]

Ms S.T. of Chiswell Green (26th April)

[...] I have been turned away from the pool in recent times [...] Having children keyed up for swimming and then not being allowed in causes many a serious issue for parents! [...]

Mr J.M. & Mrs S.M. of St. Albans (14th June)

[...] My observation of the use of the existing Pool is that at General Public usage periods it is crowded and is a dangerous mixture of swimmers and fun seekers interacting badly, aggressive swimmers maintaining their belief to achieve the fastest lengths with random ‘Kevins’ of this world either deliberately or accidental standing or swimming in less than desirable locations, the comparison to Road Rage being all to obvious. [...]