March 13 2014 Latest news:
Ian Weinfass, Senior reporter
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Splash aroud in your local pool – but get out in less than two hours.
That’s the message for users of Rainham swimming pool whose hours are being cut from next week.
The facility at the Chafford Sports Centre, Lambs Lane South, will be open from 8am-1pm on Saturday and 8am-midday on Sunday, but “swimming for all” times have been cut from 8-12 to just 8-9.50 each day.
Weekday sessions will continue for two hours on Mondays to Thursdays.
The rest of the sports centre is also due to have shorter hours from Monday.
As a result of the changes two members of staff at the pool, which is jointly run by Havering Council and Everyone Active, are to be made redundant.
A petition against the plan has been launched by user Brendon Hickey.
Another pool user Tony Wiggins, originally from Rainham, who now lives in South Ockenden, said: “When we saw the signs go up we just couldn’t believe it.
“I’ve been going to the pool for 30 years, I even met my wife there and have taken my son.
“The government are trying to get everyone to be active and yet this is happening.
“People with families just won’t be able to get there for the new times.”
His father Patrick said: “People are having to go to Hornchurch to swim and that’s not going to be good for Rainham.
“They’re running it down, soon it will affect the swimming groups who use it too.”
Cllr Jeff Tucker (Independent Residents’ Association, Rainham and Wennington) is backing the campaigners, but has also come up with an idea of his own.
He said: “A swimming pool and an ice rink in the same building in Romford is not going to work, they should build the new pool in Rainham instead where people will be able to get to it.”
Cllr Andrew Curtin, cabinet member for culture, towns and communities, said: “We’re managing a £40million cut in our funding from government over four years – which means we have had to take some difficult decisions, and this is one of them.
“We know the changes will have an impact on some users, so we’ve tried to strike a balance with the new timetable for all, including clubs and those taking lessons. However, we will of course listen to people’s feedback.”
Everyone Active said that the cut in hours means that there isn’t enough work for their staff and that the two have had to be made redundant.
To sign the petition visit http://epetition.havering.public-i.tv/epetition_core/community/petition/2230.