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


Letter, 7 December 2001, from the Director of Sport and Recreation, University of Hertfordshire, to the Clerk of the Committee

  Further to your discussion with my colleague Debbie Andalo, I understand that the Select Committee heard evidence of a shortage of 50 metre pools (particularly serving the London region) and of the potential benefits of locating such facilities at University sites.

  You expressed an interest in receiving more information about the proposals put forward by the University of Hertfordshire which offers Sport England and the ASA the perfect opportunity to achieve a 50 metre pool (as part of a larger high quality sports development) on a University site in the London region at minimal cost.

  The pool is part of a large sports complex that will include a Regional Badminton Centre, four lane cricket centre, fitness and sports injury facilities and sports fields with a capital value of over £16 million. It will undoubtedly become a centre of excellence for certain sports with particular emphasis upon developing talented young people from the region.

  These sports facilities will have full access for the community and will have residential and sports science services available for elite performers. The development will be open in summer 2003.

  The key factors that we believe make this project particularly attractive for support from Sport England and the ASA are location, need and value for money.


  The University campus is located at Hatfield adjacent to junction 3 of the A1(M) and five minutes from the M25.

  There is a population of 1.4 million people within a 20 minute drive time of the campus.

  Hatfield is 20 minutes by train from Central London and the University's own bus service (which serves the public as well as students) provides a comprehensive network of routes across the county and into North London.


  The local community pool is the only one in the district, serves a residential population of nearly 100,000 people plus a rapidly growing business community and consequently suffers from the typical problems discussed at the Committee—conflicts of programming causing dissatisfaction for the public and lack of quality water time at the right time and price for the elite swimmers. Hatfield Swim Club has World Class swimmers and a top quality Head Coach.

  The potential development of a 50 metre pool at the University of Hertfordshire has the support of all the surrounding local authorities, the Hertfordshire ASA and would appear to fit with the ASA strategic plan of developing 50 metre pools to serve the London region.


  The cost to enhance the University's original pool plans from 25 metre to a 50 metre pool with moveable floor and bulkhead to ensure maximum flexibility of use was estimated to be in the region of £2.5 million.

  This compares favourably with the most recent investment by Sport England of £6 million to achieve a 50 metre pool at Loughborough University and, I would suggest, with the likely cost of any development at Waltham Forest, Northampton or anywhere else in the region.

  The University requested a positive indication of support in principle from Sport England to enable it to submit an application to the Sports Lottery Fund for funding this additional cost.

  I have enclosed some extracts of the relevant correspondence that has occurred since our initial discussions with Sport England and the ASA started in 1998 which evidences that this support was not forthcoming hence the process of application did not proceed beyond the first stage.

  I also enclose a copy of the written submission of the Committee from Mr Ian McKenzie, as Secretary of the Hertfordshire ASA, which referred to this project.

  Should this submission arouse sufficient interest for Sport England to review their opinion then there is, at the time of writing, a chance of achieving a 50 metre pool to serve the North London and surrounding region very quickly and cost effectively.

  However, as construction is starting in January, a swift contact with either Dr Tim Wilson (Deputy Chief Executive) or me is essential.

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