I was delighted that, whilst reviewing the ‘needs assessment update’ up to 2025 for Rother Leisure facilities at the cabinet meeting on November 2, councillor Martin Kenward (Con, Bexhill Kewhurst) proposed the need not just for a 25-metre main swimming pool at the planned new Bexhill leisure centre to replace the existing swimming pool at Ravenside, but for an upgrade to a 50-metre length competition pool.
This vision was supported by councillor Maurice Watson (Lab, Bexhill Sidley), a former vice chairman of Bexhill Athletics Club.
Whilst the proposed scheme is currently unfunded and the recommendation drew cynical comments from two members of Rother’s Conservative cabinet, they nevertheless voted for it.
Swimming is an aerobic form of exercise, widely perceived in medical circles to have considerable health benefits. Great Britain’s commitment to swimming is demonstrated by our Olympic swimming medallists. And Team GB’s strong performance has continued at the 2015 world swimming championships.
A competition-sized 50-metre pool would provide a fantastic training base for local swimming talent.
It could also form the basis for attracting substantial inward investment and subsequent tourism revenue to Bexhill. It would have the potential for attracting a hotel to the town due to the prospect of national competitions.
Local cafés, restaurants and shops would also be likely to benefit. This is a similar argument to that used by the tenpin bowling community when their petition submitted in November 2012 (in which I had some involvement) attracted 3,297 signatures.
Whilst cynics might take the view that this addition to the proposed new Bexhill Leisure Centre is merely aspirational, my experience at coordinating corporate strategic plans in the private sector is that every plan needs to begin with a vision. I look forward to the prospect of this inspirational vision being endorsed by full council at its meeting on Monday, December 14.
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