Supplementary memorandum submitted by
Manchester Victoria Baths Trust
1. Despite the policy of "Sport for
All" facilities for swimming are being reducedthere
needs to be more local facilities, not fewer, grander, centralised
facilities. Our pools are mostly situated in very poor areas,
where most people will not swim regularly unless they can walk
to a local pool. The current trend flies in the face of the Government's
policy on social exclusion, community involvement in regeneration,
joined up government.
2. Historic swimming pools represent an
important aspect of working class heritage. They are of national
importance and deserve national recognition. Their survival cannot
be left to local authorities who simply see them as a burden to
council tax payers. All swimming pools are expensive to run, historic
swimming pools more so, yet we have to prove a water-tight business
case to get any capital funding for restoration. This is very
difficult to achieve, as the Victoria Baths case illustrates.
How can ongoing financial support be provided? (The state makes
provision for redundant churches.)
3. Swimming has a key role to play in improving
healthbut only if local facilities are retained and restored.
Swimming is a popular and easy sport to participate in, if you
don't have to travel far. Children need to be able to walk to
their local pool, and adults too if they are to swim regularly
enough to improve health. Swimming is also a great cure for depression
and a major liberation for older people and disabled people. How
can the potential health benefits be quantified, and relevant
funding therefore found?
4. Can we have ministerial intervention
in these issues generally and with the specific pools which we
represent? Keeping these pools closed is costing council tax payers
and tax payers many millions of pounds in the long run, as the
buildings deteriorate and security is paid to keep a facility
5. Joined-up government. Meeting more than
one public policy aim should make it easier to get capital funding,
but multiple funding applications are a complete headache as each
funder has different procedures and time-scales. How can the move
to joined-up government help us in practice?
9 August 2001