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


Supplementary memorandum submitted by Mr Savio D'Souza, Govanhill Pool, Glasgow

  May I first of all thank the Committee for inviting Historic pools such as Govanhill to give evidence for "The Sport of Swimming". I am pleased that it has enlightened the Committee to the crisis in swimming. Regarding further submissions, I think that it is important that clarification is made about some of the evidence given at the hearing.

  1.  An MP on the panel was right to state that I have not been in Govanhill very long. This should not detract from the written evidence, which are the facts provided by many sources including Sport Scotland, Glasgow City Council, local residents and pool users. I am committed to ensuring that Govanhill remains a viable community.

  2.  I have tried to seek further clarification from Glasgow City Council regarding how the ethnic needs have been addressed with the closure of the pool. To date I have not been able to obtain a reply on this matter, nor has any alternative been advertised to local community leaders of alternative arrangements.

  3.  Regarding community consultation. The Council has abolished the local community councils, which was the only forum available to discuss the needs of the local community. A feasibility questionnaire was delivered to selected homes in the area. The questionnaire did not give local residents the opportunity to state that they wish to retain the existing three pools and find alternative ways of funding the pool. The Council has now admitted that the distribution of the questionnaire was not acceptable and a second distribution is being considered.

  4.  The local Councillor for Govanhill did not inform the Finance Committee directly of his opposition to the pool closure but to his local party. This meant that there was no community representation at the crucial meeting that approved the closure.

  5.  Following many years of under-investment there is a huge backlog of work that would need to be done to address the issue. It is clear that funding from the Lottery, Central and Local Government with other competing concerns is unlikely to be sufficient. It is Government policy, as I understand, to encourage local input to solving local problems. Local and Central Government support and resources for local community initiatives to save local amenities are important. It means that local residents and businesses are more likely to support genuine campaigns. In terms of fund raising from sources other than public we have written to over 75 companies and have about 30 replies that are being followed up. However without a framework partnership with the local council progress is slow. In the case of Manchester Victoria Baths it was several years before meaningful dialogue could be engaged with the local authority. In Govanhill we want to prevent similar water penetration damage occurring increasing the fund-raising costs enormously.

  6.  Regarding school curriculum have only been able to establish in the 24-hour notice period given of Hollybrook House, Special Needs School, 135 Holybrook Street, Glasgow, G42. They used to use the Govanhill Pool twice a week on Monday and Friday. At the new pool in the Gorbais, this school has lost half of their time slots and requires additional travelling time.

  7.  Regarding transport difficulties, Glasgow City Council did provide a free bus service to the new pool built on an area with a history of subsidence for the first ten days. There are no direct bus services to the new pools from Govanhill. I understand that a bus route that did pass close has now been re-routed. The Swimming groups have suffered the most with the transport difficulties. The Kingston Swimming Club did not have the funds to provide transport to the new allocated pool on the outskirts of the city. Glasgow City Council did initially offer assistance around the time of closure, however no transport funding has been made since the closure. As a result only half the number of children from Govanhill are continuing to take part in the swimming club.

6 December 2001

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