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Labour Breaks Swimming Pool Pledge

Labour’s plans to provide a new 50m Olympic size swimming pool are in tatters.

Labour have no idea how they are to achieve their election pledge to provide a new 50m Olympic size swimming pool in time for the preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games.

When I questioned them at the Council meeting on the 24th July, Labour were unable to provide any details of where, when or how they will provide the pool or how they are going to pay for it.

In order to be available in the run up to the Olympics, the pool needs to be operating by 2010. The most recent programme identifies the design and construction period as 33 months. Further, the Wardown pool is at the end of its useful working life and is only leased to Active Luton until mid – 2010. So work needs to start now in order to meet the programme.

The proposals previously developed provide a 50m pool with moveable floor, boom wall and spectator seating; a learner pool; diving pool; and a 4-court sports hall. Labour are unable to confirm that their proposals will provide all these facilities.

Doubts have also been raised about where will the new pool be? When the previous Liberal Democrat administration conducted a wide public consultation, the majority of people supported Addington Way as a central, accessible location. Labour cannot confirm where the pool will be built.

How will the new pool be paid for? The latest estimates identify a cost of over £16.3 million to build a 50m Olympic size pool. Labour are unable to explain where this money will come from. In fact, when Liberal Democrats proposed ring-fencing a substantial proportion of the healthy financial balance Labour inherited as a result of sensible Liberal Democrat budgeting, they refused, preferring instead to squirrel it away in a ‘slush fund’. Labour clearly have no idea how to pay for a new pool.

What are the running costs and what additional burden does this represent for Luton Council Tax payers? Labour has not calculated the running costs and has no idea how it will meet them.

It is apparent that Labour have made a series of empty promises, have no intention of fulfilling them and have let the people of Luton down very badly.

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