Advice from Wiltshire Council officers that there is an “over provision” of swimming pools in the West Wiltshire area, was based on population figures dating back to 2001, White Horse News can reveal.
Whilst Wiltshire Council officers have recognised an over provision of swimming pools in the West Wiltshire area, one local man, using the same methods of calculation, believes that, rather than an over provision, there is an under provision of swimming pools in the area.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, local man Chris Blackmore asked Wiltshire Council how its officers came to recognise the over provision of swimming pools.
In response, Andrew Mullens, Wiltshire Council’s admin & projects co-ordinator, told him that the advice given was based on the Sport England Facilities Calculator, which recommends the appropriate amount of pool space for a given area/population.
He said, “The calculations were based upon the 2001 Census and took into account the pools that Wiltshire Council has responsibility for (not including other privately owned pools in the West Wiltshire area).
“The variance equates to approximately one standard sized 25m swimming pool.”
Using the very same methods of calculation, Chris Blackmore found there to be an under provision of pools in the West Wiltshire area.
He told White Horse News, “It seems Wiltshire Council used much the same method as my attempt to work out the required number of pools using information I found online.
“While I calculated that there might be one pool too few, they suggest that statistical variance means there may be nearly one pool too many. There might be almost as much as one pool too many, provided that the population has not increased at all in the nine years since 2001. I really do not believe this can be counted as an over-provision of pools.
“I think this shows that the councillor who is getting ready to cut our pool as soon as he can get away with it really needs to think again.”
Back in February, White Horse News reported on the long term future of Westbury Pool being under threat, after Wiltshire Councillor Stewart Wheeler, cabinet member for sport, leisure & culture questioned whether the county needs the number of swimming pools it currently has, at a Wiltshire Council environmental select committee meeting.