Inquiry takes evidence from Govanhill Pool Campaign

tony at tony at
Mon Dec 3 16:08:31 GMT 2001

Here is the latest development on the pool campaign.  
Please keep writing on the back of this to Glasgow City Council and the Sco=
ttish Executive. 



Westminster Inquiry into "The Sport of Swimming" in the UK examines evidenc=
e from the Govanhill Campaign to save Govanhill Pool, Calder Street Glasgow.=

Westminster Parliament shows Holyrood the way? 

The Inquiry 

Tomorrow morning, Tuesday 4th December 2001,  the Campaign has been invited=
 to give evidence to the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee=
 under the Chairmanship of Gerald Kaufman into the Sport of Swimming in the =
UK.  Saviod Souza from the campaign will deliver oral and written evidence t=
o the committee. Evidence will be taken from a number of representatives fro=
m several pools across the UK as well swimming celebrities and Sport England=
. (See Parliamentary Press Release below and attached written evidence submi=
tted to the committee - see Recommendations below)   

Sportscotland has not been invited to give evidence even though it has rece=
ntly produced a report on the state of Scottish swimming facilities entitled=
 "A Ticking Time Bomb". 

Sport England will give evidence and consistently stresses the need to cons=
ider community views on swimming facilities and the serious need to preserve=
 declining facilities for the most participative indoor sport and recreation=
 in the UK - swimming. 

The Govanhil  evidence shows how Glasgow City Council has failed to properl=
y consult the people of Govanhill and surrounding community and failed to ta=
ke proper account of the consequences of this closure.  It also demonstrate =
the massive support for the retention of the pools and argues that major dec=
isions of health, recreation and sport should be led through proper and cons=
idered community consultation and all relevant local authority agencies and =
departments.  The closure of Govanhill is a replica of situations across the=
 country under Labour administrations. 

A Constitutional Issue ? 

Since March this year the Scottish Executive, the First Minister, Henry McL=
eish and other  Ministers have ignored this Campaign despite its high profil=
e and consistent delivery of relevant documents and evidence from the campai=
gn.   The Sports and Culture Minister, Alan Wilson ignored direct appeals as=
 did Jackie Baillie from Social Justice and Susan Deacon on health.   It has=
 taken this initiative from the Westminster Parliament to raise serious conc=
erns about the lack of swimming facilities and the heritage of buildings for=
 local communities across the UK. This may  raise constitutional matters sin=
ce sport and culture are devolved issues. Will the new ministers in these th=
ree posts  pay attention? 

Savio Souza said; 

The closing of community pools for the sport of swimming, health and recrea=
tion has become a very serious issue and is related to the major health deba=
te going on at present.  Healthy living, sport and recreation help prevent a=
 range of illnesses.  Investment now in these facilitates is essential for h=
ealthy living and an investment for the future 

Andrew Johnson said; 

The strength of this campaign and the plans it has devised for a healthy li=
ving centre on the southside of Glasgow indicate what local authorities and =
government keep stressing they want  -  devolving power and responsibilities=
 for key decision making to local communities.    Everything that Glasgow ha=
s done over this closure seems to run counter to these aims. Glasgow seems d=
etermined to ignore proper and open debate and  consideration of the issues.=
  Maybe now Westminster can help our cause, maybe now the Scottish Executive=
 can act.   




Culture, Media and Sport Committee 

Press Notice No. 5 of Session 2001-02, dated 9 November 2001 


The Culture, Media and Sport Committee has decided to hold a public evidenc=
e session on the sport of swimming, to look at a range of issues, including:=
â€"      Historic swimming pools, and the problems affecting these listed b=
â€" Swimming facilities available in communities 
â€"      Facilities and training support available for competitive swimmers=
The Committee will be holding a public evidence session on Tuesday 4 Decemb=
er at 10.30 am. So far arranged: 

At about 10.45 am English Heritage 
Manchester Victoria Baths Trust 
Govanhill Pool, Glasgow 
Haggeston Pool Action Group, Hackney 
Friends of Marshall St Baths, Soho 
At about 11.30 am Amateur Swimming Association 
Sport England 
Institute of Sport and Recreation Management 

Written evidence is invited from any interested party no later than Thursda=
y 29th November. 

Overall Remit 
The CMS Committee is responsible, on behalf of the House, for the scrutiny =
of the expenditure, administration & policy of the Department for Culture, M=
edia and Sport and its associated public bodies. 


1) Help stop institutional vandalism of our National Heritage by encouragin=
g proper community involvement in their future 

It is clear that such examples of institutional vandalism are planned altho=
ugh not discussed long in advance of closure. Before a closure of a local fa=
cility is proposed, there needs to be widespread local involvement in the pr=
eserving of their local facility. The Government has published ideas concern=
ing best value that the local communities are the best source of ideas to so=
lve local problems. It is right that the local community should be involved.=
 In many examples around the country what has been displayed is apparent cow=
ardly acts of leadership, where elected representatives believe that they ha=
ve a monopoly on good ideas. 

2) Any consideration of closure should take into account the full social im=
pact on the community 

Government should develop guidelines to ensure that the full impact, (such =
as health, social exclusion, social and religious factors etc.) of the closu=
re of local facilities are properly considered and taken into account. 

3) Proper and accurate assessment of local needs 

The needs and reasonable realistic expectations of the local community need=
 to be properly assessed and considered. It is clearly a waste of finite pub=
lic resources when local amenities are not what are required or able to use =
what they are given due to poor consultation. 

There needs to a real openness and honesty about the problems to generate s=

4) All sources of funding need to be properly considered an evaluated befor=
e closure is considered 

All sources of funding need to be considered prior to closure to ensure tha=
t limited private and public resources are not squandered due to poor action=
 at the appropriate stage by the relevant authorities. In the case of closed=
 swimming pools adequate security and prevention of water penetration needs =
to be fund and taken into account. 

5) Lottery funding needs to be more flexible 

The availability of Lottery and other funding needs to be clearly identifie=
d and a network of support developed to assist and support local community a=
pplications for funding. The threshold needs to be more flexible to take int=
o account local circumstances. This is a very complex area and involved putt=
ing together business plans etc. that are often abstract to local communitie=

6) Proper accountability from Public bodies giving local Councils funding 

Public bodies providing funding to local Community should demand a local ac=
countability from local Councils to ensure that funds are used for their int=
ended purpose. 

7) The real impact on Swimming groups needs to be considered effectively 

Swimming groups are an important part of widening the sport to a broader ap=
peal enabling young and old to achieve their full potential. Future Olympic =
Champions emerge when they are supported encouraged and nurtured to achieve =
their full potential. In the case of Govanhill many of the swimming groups h=
ave halved in size, as members are not able to afford the additional transpo=
rt costs and time needed to travel to new venues. 

The funding of swimming as a sport needs to be considered carefully to ensu=
re that there is a fair distribution of resources at all levels and not just=
 popular or well known cases. 

In Australia  there is a genuine support at all levels of Government, Local=
 Councils and communities preventing the likelihood of social exclusion whic=
h is now at the heart of Government policy. If a similar approach could be a=
dopted in Britain they quality of swimming in Britain could be dramatically =


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