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Fears club membership could take a dive
2:44pm Wednesday 28th May 2014 in Your Views
Walthamstow Pool and Track was built nearly 50 years ago.
It was to provide a comprehensive facility in the middle of the new borough, easy to get to for everyone.
It was a fun place to go, with a 5m platform we used to jump off when we were brave enough.
My daughter learned to swim there. Now she is in the Waltham Forest Diving Club, which also uses Waltham Forest Pool and Track.
Although it still seems useable, we were very pleased to hear that the leisure centre is being replaced with a new facility. We were most unhappy to hear though that the new pool won’t retain a 5m diving platform.
Full use is made of the 1m and 3m boards and the 5m platform – the three are a minimum requirement for stamina building, training and competitions.
The club has been told that to benefit from full training facilities in the future, it will have to use the London Aquatics Centre at the Olympic site down in Stratford.
There are no direct trains to the Aquatics Centre. There is one bus, but it stops short, requiring a long walk through Westfield shopping centre and doesn’t run from all parts of the borough.
In addition, fees will increase – my daughter’s fees have doubled, as the club is using the centre on a temporary basis – and if parents drive there, the parking is difficult and pricey.
Spending an hour or so getting to Stratford and then an hour back is less than ideal and so together this all means Waltham Forest Diving Club could gradually migrate.
It could become a misnomer or the club could die altogether.
It is far more attractive on a busy work and school night to make a short journey by car to Waltham Forest Pool and Track.
There is also the issue of a lack of consultation, which I have to say is appalling.
The club – and the Waltham Forest Gators Swimming Club and the scuba club – have been using the Pool and Track for more than 40 years, paying for the privilege.
The council has a statutory duty to consult them.
Issues such as the requirement for a 5m platform could have been discussed. Instead, the diving club has been cursorily informed of plans.
There is a campaign to keep the 5m platform at the pool and track. I fully support the campaign and ask others to do so.
The Aquatics Centre is a wonderful facility and the diving club will enjoy using it while Waltham Forest Pool and Track is being rebuilt (transport issues aside).
But an accessible, viable club with boards and platforms up to and including 5m is needed in the heart of the borough, rather than an all-or-nothing scenario outside.
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