Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Mr Alan Phillips

  As a past president of the Northamptonshire Amateur Swimming Association I would like to make the following comments on swimming in this area.

  Historically, swimming facilities in this rural area have been provided by the local councils for the recreational benefit of their local constituents. Whilst this was extremely laudable and appropriate for the pre second world war conditions I suggest that with both the Government and residents pressure on Council tax nowadays this method is no longer appropriate for this day and age. It thus becomes necessary for people to do some lateral thinking and come up with alternative methods of funding the urgently required swimming facilities in this area.

  Over the past two or three decades we have built leisure and fun pools which cater for the recreational use of water, but we have not provided any facilities for the swimmer who wishes to swim for health, the swimmer who wishes to swim for fitness or the swimmer who wishes to swim in a structured environment. We also do not provide any reasonable facilities for the clubs who provide the youth of this county with the opportunity to achieve their potential in the sport of swimming.

  Currently we have one pool in the County—at Corby—which is capable of holding championships, and the only reason that this is possible is that the county amateur swimming association together with the county swimming clubs and, in conjunction with the lottery, funded and provided the necessary facilities.

  Unfortunately the geographic position of Corby is not helpful for access for the rest of the County in that Corby is 25 miles from the County town of Northampton and 40 miles from Daventry.

  One alternative that we in the county are investigating and pursuing is that of linking up with a higher education establishment namely University College Northampton, a solution which would provide the answer to a number of the perceived problems.

  University College Northampton have agreed that they would provide the ground on which to build a competition-sized pool the college would also provide the infrastructure needed to operate such a facility. The country association together with its member clubs would then provide the user base upon a viable financial model could and has been constructed.

  This proposed partnership would provide, in this area:

    —  a viable competition pool capable of staging major championships.

    —  by co-operating with a major swimming club (Northampton S.C.) access to professional swimming coaching and teaching

    —  opportunities for structured swimming at reasonable hours for health from fitness purposes

    —  educational opportunities for swimmers which would be based on the very successful American model

    —  opportunities for sports science students to undertake practical research.

  The only problem remaining is how do we raise the £6 million of construction costs.

  Thanking you for the opportunity to make the above points.

27 November 2001

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