THERE has been a public outcry since the Gazette revealed last week that Yiewsley Swimming Pool is to close to make way for a new health centre. DAN COOMBS received a mix of responses for and against the changes set to take place at the Otterfield Road site...
Chris Green, of Yiewsley, said: "While it would be a shame to lose a local resource such as the pool, we have to be realistic here - what will be more beneficial to the area - a small, ageing swimming pool with basic facilities, or a modern health centre equipped to meet the healthcare needs of an area with a growing population?
"The health centre is an obvious winner. With easily-accessible and far superior swimming pool and gym facilities a short bus ride away at the new Hillingdon Sport and Leisure Complex, the need for Yiewsley Pool has reduced significantly to the level that its on-going costs and use of the site can no longer be justified.
"The trust that has kept Yiewsley Pool running for the last decade should be commended for their fantastic work. However, the need for a small swimming pool in the area has been questionable for some time, while the cost to bring it up to modern standards is too high to warrant its continued existence in the face of modern competition from new council facilities.
"Also, I am greatly concerned by the on-going efforts of Liberal Democrat
candidate Gay Brown, who continues to be on a one-person mission to make living in Yiewsley as unpleasant as possible for everyone else by opposing plans and new developments that local residents actually want. I cite the proposed new health centre and the new Tesco as examples of Gay Brown's one-person mission to block change and progress in the area, contrary to what local residents want and support.
"Yiewsley is a changing area with a rapidly changing social demographic of young professionals moving in to the new residential developments in the area such as Park West, Waterside Park and soon the new flats that will accompany the new Tesco development. These people, along with existing residents, need modern 21st century facilities such as a new health centre. Not a friendly, but run-down pool that no longer meets public demand."
Phil Mobsby, from Uxbridge, said: "As a daily user of Yiewsley Pool I read your announcement of its closure with sadness; the residents of the area are receiving a very raw deal.
"If the Council can fund the redevelopment of a second, outside, pool at Uxbridge which will only be used during a handful of weekends each summer then they cannot possibly justify the closure of Yiewsley which is in use seven days a week throughout the year.
"In contrasts with Uxbridge Pool’s focus on high level athletes, Yiewsley caters for the family, the school child and the man in the street.
"It is constantly busy during the early morning, lunch time and evening sessions, and is occupied with school visits and lessons throughout the day; it is also used extensively by airlines for aircrew emergency training. Its regular users include a group of retired people who are prepared to pay the modest charges for the convenience and relaxed atmosphere.
"They will not transfer to Uxbridge, even though it may be free, due to its inaccessibility and restrictions; it does not even ensure access to "real" showers.
"The Council's decision is also at odds with its own expansion plans for the area and Yiewsley and West Drayton residents must increasingly feel that they are being short changed.
"They are forced to accept large new housing developments and the Tesco superstore with all the attendant congestion and demand on services while their local leisure facilities are being reduced rather than expanded.
"On the basis of this consumer demand, combined with the government policy of encouraging swimming as healthy exercise, Yiewsley Pool should not be closed but expanded."
Susan Kennedy, from Yiewsley, said: "I think it is absolutely disgusting that people could even consider closing down Yiewsley Pool.
"It doesn't have to be the biggest flashiest pool to be needed and wanted by people.
"Some people's children would be unable to travel to the other pools, which would no doubt be overcrowded anyway.
"There is nothing in this area for the kids apart from Yiewsley Pool. What does Ray Puddifoot suggest all the kids who attend swimming lessons do now then?
"My daughter and lots of children attend swimming clubs at Yiewsley Pool that they can attend four evenings a week.
"There are also lots of other swimming clubs run from there, what are they supposed to do?
"For a lot of children this is like a lifeline, they can go in the school holidays, socialise with other kids and get exercise at the same time.
"Why don't they use the Gordons site or the Bentleys site? Both of those sites are detrelict. I am extremely angry about this, it should not be allowed to happen. I am sure this will affect the election results, I know who I won't be voting for."
Kathleen Carroll, of Yiewsley, said: "While I agree that Yiewsley could do with a new Health Centre why does it have to be at the expense of our little swimming pool.
"Tesco are opening a new shop at the end of town why then can they not put the Health Centre in the old Tesco Building it is certainly big enough and shares the same car park as the pool.
"I learnt to swim in Yiewsley Pool in the 1950's and still swim there 5 days a week.
"I agree that it needs updating but not all of us want an Olympic size pool,nor do I wish to travel to Hayes or Uxbridge to swim.
Both staff and the people that use the pool and gym are very friendly, why must our community be taken along with our shops in the high street.
"Soon we will have to travel for all our needs, with all our new housing in this area we need more facility's not less."