Tuesday, 11 June 2013

New Hope For Houghton Regis Swimming Pool - It's Looking Promising!

Supporters of a campaign to save Houghton Regis Leisure Centre, and bring the town's swimming pool back into use, heard some good news last night.

At a meeting of the Houghton Regis Leisure Centre Action Group (HRLCAG) last night, the meeting heard that Central Bedfordshire Council were prepared to put in £150,000 for capital works* on the Houghton Regis pool, provided that tenders for new contracts to run sports centres in Central Bedfordshire, from 1st April 2014, included acceptable proposals for the running of the Houghton Regis Swimming Pool.


The empty swimming pool, now


In 2011 the whole sports centre and pool was threatened with closure, but the community mobilised and the Action Group was formed. Public meetings were called in July and August 2011 demonstrating widespread public concern. The Council relented, and decided to close just the pool from September 2011, and to keep the dry side open. A new contractor took over running of the dry side from April 2012. The campaigners battled on.

After many meetings, and raising of public awareness, the membership figures for the Leisure Centre have now exceeded all expectations. From 40 recorded memberships in September 2011, the membership is now around 2,000. Income for the operating company has exceeded expectations, and the dry-side has had a footfall of over 42,500.

Meanwhile, Prince William recently declared his support for the campaign to make swimming lessons more available for all children at all primary schools in England.In Houghton Regis there is a mixed situation with regard to swimming. Some have simply cancelled swimming lessons, others are having them, but with the crippling burden of high travel costs, and the time it takes for travelling.


 Prince William, "I'm so keen for school swimming to be accessible for all children at all primary schools."

Central Bedfordshire Council will set off the tendering process for new contracts to run all of the sports centres at Sandy, Biggleswade, Flitwick and Houghton Regis later this year. The tenderers will be told to include the running of the Houghton Regis Swimming Pool as an option in the seven year contract starting in April 2014. CBC estimate that the running cost of the pool would be between £75k - £100k. The tendering process panel would include 2 members from HRLCAG, with an outcome decision being formally made in January 2014.

* The capital works CBC would be prepared to pay for include replacement of water pumps, filtration mechanism,changing room refurbishment & associated repairs and maintenance

Click here for earlier news items about the Swimming Pool