Agenda item

Yiewsley Pool - Petition to the Council


Councillors’ Paul Harmsworth and Dominic Gilham attended the meeting and spoke as a Ward Councillors.


Ward Councillor Peter Kemp also attended the meeting but did not speak.


Councillor Anita MacDonald was in attendance and spoke.


Councillors’ Wayne Bridges, Mary O’Connor, June Nelson, Janet Duncan and Phoday Jarjussey were in attendance.  


Concerns and suggestions raised at the meeting included the following:


The Petitioners concerns were:

  • The residents of Yiewsley and West Drayton objected to the closure of the pool. A petition with over 1,000 signatures was sent in June 2010 to the Council. A single person that was asked to sign the petition had not rejected the request.
  • They did not accept that the closure was justified on a cost or health basis.
  • They did not accept that the site was an appropriate site for a health centre. They believed that there were 2 other sites that were cheaper and more accessible options. That these 2 sites had the finance in place to supply the building at no cost to the tax payer.
  • They did not accept that the proposed replacement structure was appropriate in terms of density, mass and scale.
  • They did not accept that the Council had already given an undertaking to the group on behalf of local residents that building over the three floors would not be considered appropriate to the surrounding residential landscape.  
  • They did not accept that the were sufficient pool facilities in the area to justify its closure, especially since all the swimming clubs using Hayes and Uxbridge appeared to have had both time and space cut on the basis of a lack of pool space being available.
  • The petitioners questioned how the spending of £250,000 on the William Bird Pool could be permitted in view of its close location to the new Botwell Pool. Yet £32,000 per annum was considered inappropriate expenditure to provide the facility in the worst area of the Borough for health deprivation.
  • The petitioners stated that the local schools would have to find £8,000 per annum to take children to an alternative swimming pool.
  • That the petition was acknowledged by the Council on June 28th and the letter stated that the petition hearing would be with Councillor Henry Higgins as he was the Cabinet Member for Culture, Sports and Leisure. The petitioners were concerned that the petition was being heard by Councillor Bianco rather than the Cabinet Member responsible for the facility.
  • The petitioners had requested some documents that had not been supplied and none of the questions they had asked had been answered so they requested that the Petition Hearing be adjourned for a month. They felt that this would enable the correct Cabinet Member to be present and also for the documentation and questions to be dealt with.
  • The petitioners felt the month delay requested should not have been an issue since the petition had been with the Council for months already.
  • The petitioners requested the Council’s written assurance that nothing would be done to the fabric, machinery or content of the pool before the matter was given the correct community involvement and consultation required by PPS1, and the LDF Core Policies EM5, C11, C1 and SO6 & 9 were complied with.
  • The petitioners also believed they had the right to expect answers for the list of questions and documents they requested.
  • The petitioners said the pool was much loved by the residents and the small size made it less intimidating place to learn to swim. The small size also meant that the schools using it had an ease of supervision and health and safety issues.
  • The petitioners also felt that there had been secrecy about the manner of the pool closure and that the community were entitled to an open and informed discussion.
  • Petitioners questioned where the money that was invested into Icelandic banks had gone. That some of that could have been used to cover the costs of the pool.
  • That the pool was used for the elderly, disabled and the young.
  • That the elderly and disabled would have difficulties in travelling to another pool which was further away. They felt it was unfair to expect them to travel further.
  • The petitioners felt that the closure of the pool evaded away from the Council Plan.
  • That Yiewsley and West Drayton scored badly in statistics for deprivation and that they needed to encourage leisure facilities in the area. That it was the only leisure facility they had.
  • The petitioners felt that the swimming pool was unique in the discipline it offered to the elderly and it felt safe to them. They did not want to use an Olympic sized pool as it did not feel safe and they would feel intimidated.
  • They felt the pool could be a good investment if the council refurbished it and put good management behind it. 
  • Petitioners stated that the pool was for the young as well. Children had swimming lessons at Yiewsley Pool.
  • Petitioners stated they were unaware that the pool was being closed down until recently. They had heard nothing from the Council on this and that people that worked at the pool said they were sworn to secrecy on the matter.
  • Petitioners had been in contact with the PCT who had stated that a deal had not been agreed with the Council.



Ward Councillors:


Councillor Paul Harmsworth:

  • Questioned Officers on the firmness of the deal with the PCT. He did not believe the PCT would sign a deal with the Council as the future of the PCT is in doubt. He felt this was a ‘tight fit’ as far as the PCT were concerned.
  • The Ward Councillor questioned whether GP’s would see this as an appropriate site.
  • The Ward Councillor spoke about refurbishing the pool and giving it to the residents of West Drayton and Yiewsley.
  • The Ward Councillor also stated that the area may become a development for flats if a deal with the PCT did not go through.
  • Cllr Harmsworth requested that they see a plan of the development of the proposed health centre at the next meeting.


Councillor Dominic Gilham:

  • The Ward Councillor stated that this was a very emotive issue.
  • That only 1 person from Yiewsley had contact him to say they wanted to keep the pool open. That no else had approached him about this nor campaigned to keep it open.
  • He stated that a lot of people used to go to the pool to swim. That it is not used much anymore, and not for the percentage that was required to maintain it.
  • The Ward Councillor stated that within 2.5miles there was a pool in Uxbridge residents could use. Within 2.7miles there was a pool in Botwell.
  • That schools could speak up for additional funding for transport if they required. That a school could walk to Uxbridge and save the cost of transport also.


Councillor Anita MacDonald spoke:

  • Councillor MacDonald stated that she was first informed of the plans for the pool by residents, not the Council. So she put on a campaign trail. 
  • The distance for residents to travel to another pool would be via 2 buses. The cost would be £17.50 for a family membership from Hayes. Lots of residents could not afford this; they were from areas of high deprivation.
  • Councillor MacDonald stated that lots of residents had contacted her about the closure of the pool.
  • That the Council could have done something in the past about the signage and ensuring the pool was not so run-down.
  • That the Head’s were unaware of additional funding for transport.
  • She questioned how many GP’s had signed up to the proposal of a new health centre.


Councillor Jonathan Bianco listened to the concerns of the petitioners and responded to the points raised:

  • There was a discrepancy between the number of petition signatures stated by petitioners and the number stated in the report from officers. This difference was due to the fact that some of the signatures did not include an address which could identify whether the person signing the petition lived in the Borough or Ward.
  • Yiewsley swimming pool started as an outdoor pool and had a roof built over it. Over time the equipment had worn out and a lot of money would need to be spent on it to refurbish it to a good standard.
  • The Cabinet Member stated that the elderly had the benefits of free swimming and free travel on buses.  
  • That the Council was proud of the facilities the Borough offered, the new pool at Botwell as well as the first 50metre pool in London built in the last 45-50 years. That the facilities offered much more than a swimming pool.
  • The Council could have looked to the past and what they could have done more to maintain Yiewsley pool but the refurbishment that it required was more than a simple refurbishment job.
  • The building was past its sell by date and needed repairing, and the equipment needed replacing. It needed substantive expenditure to carry this out, and they Council needed to balance out the finances.
  • The health facilities that could be put on the site was needed in the area.  


Officers responded to the petitioners:

  • Officers were not aware of questions or document requests that were sent by the petitioners.
  • The deal with the PCT was quite a complicated deal and it was part way through the final negotiations. That there were not huge differences between what they wanted/ The timescale for a deal should be between 6 months and 18 months.
  • The PCT were happy with the design. They had looked at other sites but this was the only site they were pursuing to officers knowledge.
  • Officers stated that members could see the plans for the proposed health centre.
  • That 3 practices would move to the proposed health centre, but no GP’s had signed up at that time.
  • Officers stated that there were notices at the pool informing residents of the closure.
  • That others swimming pools were available to residents and these were popular. That they held sessions and activities to suit the different needs of users.



RESOLVED:  That the Cabinet Member for Finance and Business Services:

  1. Noted the petition received; and
  2. Supported the closure of Yiewsley Pool and the development of a new Health Centre on the site, subject to planning permission.




A petition was received by Democratic Services on 25 June 2010 containing 600 signatures stating “We the residents of Yiewsley object to any plans to close our swimming pool. We need more facilities for exercise and youth activities not less”. The Council’s procedures enable such petitions to be heard by the relevant Cabinet Member.




Retaining Yiewsley Pool is considered unsustainable and will be a significant long term financial risk to the Council both in terms of the upgrading required and on-going subsidy that will be needed. When taking into account the investment made to sport and leisure centres that are within reach of the Yiewsley area, retaining the pool will not provide value for money and it would be more beneficial to find an alternative suitable use of the site for another public service.

Supporting documents: