Fears that new pool could be end of competitive swimming in Eastbourne

Eastbourne Swimming Club has raised concerns over plans for the new Sovereign Centre.

Friday, 31st March 2017, 1:13 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:54 pm
Eastbourne Swimming Club SUS-170327-122336001

There will be a public exhibition of the plans in early May, and a planning application will be submitted in June for the new recreation facilities.

But members of the team which uses the pool perhaps the most are worried they have not been consulted enough in these designs, and hope competitive swimming will be considered.

Simon Bandy, committee member of Eastbourne Swimming Club, said, “If the new centre isn’t suitable, it would be the end of competitive swimming in Eastbourne.”

Mr Bandy is hoping the new Sovereign Centre will have a pool at least as big as the current one, with suitable lane widths and a spectator seating area for galas.

He said, “We want to keep swimming within the community. If we could have a pool that would enable us to hold galas, that’s got to bring people into the town.

“We would have people queueing up to use a 50m pool.

“It can bring revenue outside the tourist weeks. People would travel to use it if we had the facilities for competitive swimming.”

Mr Bandy said the club is hoping the lane width will be at least 2m – any smaller, he said, could cause accidents.

The club also hopes the council will reconsider initial plans for a six-lane pool and increase this to eight lanes, which it believes would greatly improve the swimming facilities in the town.

Mr Bandy said, “I would love to not lose any water space – in a perfect world we would gain water space.

“That includes the diving pool. That’s a whole section of the club that could disappear overnight.

“It would be lovely to see an eight lane pool. We could take over a couple of lanes as a club and the public could use the rest.

“But if the lanes become too narrow we won’t be able to use the timing pods we have got, which cost us £10,000.”

The club has been around for more than 150 years and has been using the Sovereign Centre since its opening in 1977.

Members hope the council will listen to their concerns and make the new swimming pool better than the current one – not worse.