Tuesday 25 May 2010
Culture, Media and Sport
Swimming Pool (Canvey Island)
The Petition of Liz and Lea Swann, residents of Canvey Island and others,
Declares that they support and want to protect and enhance the Canvey Sea Front area and therefore object to the proposed removal of the swimming pool at the far end of Concord Beach; notes that the swimming pool is enjoyed by many local residents, particularly children, forms an important and historic part of the iconic Canvey Seafront, is important to local businesses that rely on the visitors for income during the summer months, and would cost very little to maintain; further declares that retaining the pool is by far the safest option and that this proposal has been made without any consultation of residents and businesses at all, has not consulted the Environment Agency on the environmental impact to the beach and surrounding properties, did not include Canvey Island's Town Councillors in discussions; that for these and many other valid reasons this proposal should be withdrawn by the mainland Conservative Borough Councillors, and that given the importance to the wider community of protecting this local beach attraction, the Council must properly and widely consult the public before making any decision.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons press the Government to urge Castle Point Borough Council, and the Conservative Council Group, to reject this proposal and instead spend public funds on the swimming pool's upkeep.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Bob Spink, Official Report, 1 February 2010; Vol. 505, c. 137.]
Observations from the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport:
The Government recognise that Canvey seafront is an area of significant historic and cultural importance, and that the Old Sea Water Paddling Pool is a popular draw for tourists during the summer months. More than this; that it is an important local landmark that residents are strongly in favour of retaining.
The Government are led to believe that Castle Point Borough Council has found the pool to be in need of substantial repairs and maintenance, and therefore intends, following a review of the pool and surrounding area, to demolish it. It is the Government’s understanding that the Council considers this to be the most financially viable option.
While the petition to save the Old Sea Water Paddling Pool touches on a number of issues that fall within this Department’s portfolio—including tourism, sport, and heritage—it is essentially a matter for local government, who are best placed to judge the needs of the people they serve. Ministers are unable to get involved in local decision-making processes; the responsibility for which rests with the Council. It is critical that local authorities plan strategically for the future, to ensure that all community needs are catered for. This includes undertaking an assessment of existing provision and its ability to meet current and projected demand.