Opinion: Confidence around water is vital

Collette Francis, Green Party  West Ward candidateCollette Francis, Green Party  West Ward candidate
Collette Francis, Green Party  West Ward candidate
​Peterborough’s swimmers got the news they feared last week when it was announced that it would take an astronomical sum of money to make the Regional Pool operational again, writes Collette Francis, Green Party West Ward candidate.

​A city centre pool is a must for a city the size of Peterborough, and we are pleased to see this is one subject all politicians agree on. It will cost at least £15,000,000 to repair the pool and we at the Green party believe money could be better spent on starting again with a replacement facility, perhaps with help from the private sector.

With many families in Peterborough with young children, learning confidence around water is vital. Many other cities and towns have more family fun orientated pools.

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Our magnificent lido has been kept open for longer this year, but winter has arrived with a vengeance, and sadly it will now be closed until the Spring. Swimmers have appreciated the efforts of the council in keeping it open through into December. Hopefully, whatever the provision for indoor swimming, this will be repeated in future years.

Maybe our Lido could even join the growing list of outdoor pools which are open all year round. The Lido is a jewel in Peterborough's crown and must be one of the most used leisure facilities in the city. Opened in 1936 and known as the Corporation Swimming Pool, it is one of the few from that era to have survived, though it's not always been plain sailing.

Despite damage from a German World War 2 bomb, a fire and an over zealous council who wanted to demolish it in 1989, the pool remains open and has even retained its original gardens.

Sadly, as we know, indoor swimming facilities in the city have not fared so well with a huge question mark now hanging over the future of the Regional Pool. Built 40 years after the Lido, the Regional Pool recently suffered temporary closure due to the discovery of Legionella bacteria and may now be closed permanently because of the prohibitive cost of repairs relating to the discovery of RAAC concrete.

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The closure of St.George’s Hydrotherapy Pool, and subsequent events including its demolition which cost the taxpayer £16,700 has been another sorry chapter in the story of water based exercise in Peterborough.

The now replaced Conservative administration came out of this appallingly.

Hydrotherapy pools provide water based exercise which can be life changing for those with disabilities or motor issues. Pool sessions at warmer temperatures like the Hydrotherapy Pool offered can reduce the stress on joints that regular exercise just can't. They can increase aerobic capacity and can allow exercise without pain or restricted movement.

This barely scrapes the surface of the benefits which can be gained by users that need these kind of facilities.

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The new Peterborough First administration has certainly experienced a baptism of fire with all the issues related to pools. We hope every avenue will be explored to give Peterborough the swimming and hydrotherapy facilities we can all be proud of.

Despite the comment made by a Conservative Councillor at the Cabinet meeting on closing the Hydrotherapy Pool, stating the health and wellbeing of the users is not their concern or responsibility. We do feel it is a very important issue for all Peterborough residents to have adequate facilities to improve their health and wellbeing within our city, as well as the children of the city having somewhere to learn water confidence safely.