New Rickmansworth School pool could make school 'a hub for sporting excellence'

Watford Observer: The old school pool which needed to be renovated. The old school pool which needed to be renovated.

Rickmansworth School pool could be open to residents after politicians agreed last night to put £70,000 towards its refurbishment programme in return for public "pay and swim" access.

The grant was discussed at a Three Rivers meeting of the Leisure and Community Safety Policy and Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday night.

The Scots Hill secondary school has secured planning permission and £632,000 of the funding towards the total project cost of £702,000.

Politicians unanimously agreed officers’ recommendations that the district council invest £70,000 into the school pool on the condition that public pay and swim sessions are provided for at least 10 years.

However, the recommendation will not be confirmed until the executive committee approve the investment at a meeting later this month.

If councillors do push ahead with the investment, it would provide residents, particularly those in Croxley Green, more convenient access to pay and swim pools.

Pools currently offering the pay and swim service in Three Rivers are William Penn Leisure Centre in Rickmansworth, Woodside Leisure Centre in Garston and the Sir James Altham pool, in South Oxhey.

Speaking for the investment at the meeting, the school’s assistant headteacher, Chris Hambleton, said the school "firmly believes that the facilities should be used by the wider community".

Mr Hambleton added that the school could house some of the best sports facilities in the community and become a hub for sporting excellence.

The school’s old dilapidated pool closed in October 2012 as it was felt it needed to be completely regenerated.

Since the pool’s closure, which resulted in swimming being removed from the curriculum, the school has managed to secure a number of funds and investments for its restoration.

Last year, the school received a substantial grant from the Education Funding Authority and a further £150,000 was awarded to the school from the Olympic Legacy Fund.

The renovated pool is designed to be 25 metres long and four lanes wide.

The £70,000 council funding is required for the installation of a combined heat and power pump, designed to improve he energy efficiency of the facility.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Hambleton said: "The school would like to thank the committee for recommending the proposal to the Executive Committee, which would make the pool available for pay and swim sessions to the local community, specifically young people during school holidays which would otherwise not be available."

The final decision on the pool will be made by executive committee members at Three Rivers House, in Rickmansworth, on January 27.

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