Council unveils plans for Olympic sized swimming pool
Proposed new leisure complex will replace Acton Baths
Plans to build an Olympic sized swimming pool as a replacement for Acton Baths have been revealed. The proposed new pool is set to be built on the site of the Stirling Road day centre and the Stirling Road waste and recycling facility (situated off Bollo Lane).
Design proposals have been commissioned focusing on the provision of a mix of sports facilities, the main one being a flexible 50 metre pool suitable for both community and competitive use with a dividing boom and adjustable floor. Other facilities could include a gym, dance studios, martial arts facilities, health spa and dedicated indoor facilities for football or tennis. It is estimated that construction costs would total a minimum of £11 million.
Funding for the proposed scheme would, in part, come from the sale of the current Acton Baths site for residential property development and is estimated to be worth around £7million, leaving a funding gap of approximately £4.5m. Ealing council proposes to borrow the necessary capital against future revenue from the new pool.
Contentious plans to close the historic Acton baths and replace it with a new facility have been in the public domain for some time now. The disruption during the summer because staff ran out of chlorine led to renewed concerns that closure through lack of funding and maintenance was almost inevitable.
Councilor Gary Malcolm said "A new baths would be good for encouraging sport in the area given the problems that have occured at Acton's current baths. Because the current proposals involve re-siting the recycling centre at Stirling Road it would have made sense to first check the feasibility of any new sites for the recycling centre or else people's hopes could be dashed especially given the funding shortfall for new baths. Liberal Democrats want to see improved sporting and recreational facilities across Acton and Chiswick."
Conservative Councilor Sue Emment said “We support building a new pool in Acton, but with a large funding shortfall and question marks over a site the new facility is many years off. What we don’t want to see is Labour using the promise of a new facility as an excuse to let the Acton Swimming baths wither and die before an alternative is built."
Paul Hyman, Head of Active Ealing, said "We have spent more than £600,000 on improving the pool and keeping it open over the past five years. We want a good return for the community on this investment and intend to keep the Baths open until we have built the proposed new pool. There have recently been operational problems at the pool and we will be working closely with Leisure Connection to ensure that they are resolved."
Acton Bath's current management contract with Leisure Connection finishes in September 2006 and tenders are currently being invited for new leisure management contract.
November 16, 2005