Yiewsley Pool - Documents
Yiewsley Community Involvement Group
Statement for Petition Hearing 11th August 2010.
The people of Yiewsley and West Drayton, have expressed overwhelming objection to the closure of the pool and do not accept either that:
1. The closure was justified on cost or health basis.
2. That the site is an appropriate site for the long promised health centre since at least two other cheaper and more accessible sites are on offer with the finance in place to supply the building at no cost to the tax payer.
3. That the proposed replacement structure is appropriate in terms of density, mass and scale.
4. That the Council has already given an undertaking to this group on behalf of local residents that buildings over three floors would not be considered appropriate to the surrounding residential landscape.
5. That there are sufficient pool facilities in the area to justify its closure, especially since all the swimming clubs using Hayes and Uxbridge appear to have had both time and space cut on the basis of a lack of pool space being available.
6. That spending £250,000 on the William Bird Pool can be permitted in view of its location close to the new Botwell Pool and yet £32,000 per annum is considered inappropriate expenditure to provide the facility in the worse area of the Borough for health deprivation.
7.That each of the local schools will now have to find £8,000 per annum to take children to an alternative. (£24,000 leaving a saving of only £8,000 overall anyway).
8.That a further contract should be given to a firm who have succeeded only in running down the Yiewsley pool and establishing a reputation for poor service, rude staff and a filthy pool environment.
Our petition of over 1,000 signatures was entered in June 2010. The Council’s letter acknowledging the petition dated June 28th stated that the petition was with Councillor Henry Higgins as Cabinet Member for Culture, Sports and Leisure. We are therefore concerned that this petition is now to be heard by Councillor Bianco rather than the Member responsible for the facility.
Since none of the documents requested by Group Members have been supplied and none of the questions asked have been answered we request that this meeting is now adjourned to enable the correct Cabinet Member to be present and also for the documentation and questions to be dealt with.
Since the pool has been closed whist our petition has languished in the Council’s in tray there is no reason why a months delay to allow those who wished to be here to return from holidays and for information to be supplied should not be arranged.
In the mean time we would like the Council’s written assurance that nothing will be done to the fabric, machinery or content of the pool before this matter is given the correct community involvement and consultation required by PPS 1, and the LDF Core Policies EM5, C11, C1 and SO 6 & 9 are complied with.
We also have a list of questions asked and documentation requested, which we believe the public have a right to expect answers to if they are to be informed enough to understand the Council’s case and justification for the closure and agree with it.
Finally the Pool is much loved by the residents and many suggested that the small size made it a much less intimidating place to learn to swim and also from the point of view of the schools using the pool its size meant an ease of supervision and therefore health and safety issues which arise in the large pools were irrelevant here. Not a single person approached chose not to sign the petition against the closure and we feel the Council are unaware of the importance the people of Yiewsley attaché to the pool despite the fact that two thirds complained about the management of it.
We feel there has been extreme secrecy about the manner of the closure and hope that this meeting can be the start of the open and informed discussion that the community are entitled to.
Yiewsley Community Involvement /Save Our Pool.
QUESTIONS TO THE LONDON BOROUGH OF HILLINGDON CONCERNING THE CASE FOR THE CLOSURE OF YIEWSLEY POOL AND DOCUMENTS LIST.
1. Why has there been no public consultation on the closure as required by PPS 1.
(It is the right of the Community to decide the future shape of their environment. Consultation on developments with the community must be ‘at the earliest possible point’ and ‘at a point where they can make a material difference’.)
2. Why was the contract on the Yiewsley Pool curtailed before its stated time?
(Copy requested.) (If a letter from the Trust was sent withdrawing from the contract a copy is requested.)
3.Why was the future running of the pool not put out to tender?
4.On what information, surveys, engineers reports, was the decision based?
5. Why have the Trust been given a contract to run the William Bird Pool?
6.Was the running of this pool put out to tender/
7. Since it appears to be your party’s policy to not only protect local facilities but to offer the running of them to the community why was this option not investigated?
8.The suggestion of a Health Centre on the site has not been investigated to the satisfaction of the GP’s concerned. We request therefore a copy of the proposed plans and business plan outlining the future rental, service charges, rent free periods. This so a fair comparison can be made with the developers business plans already submitted. These should detail the layout of each practice area, the layout of the flats to be included, the allocation of parking spaces to flats and to the GP’s Practices, the cost per square metre in rental, the service charges, terms and length of lease, break out clauses, rent reviews, the rent free period, the estimated completion date and any loss of parking in the town’s car park.
9.We ask that no alterations to the pool are made and the equipment retained in full running order until the public consultation is completed and until the health centre site has been contracted by all three of the GP’s. The opinion of NHS Hillingdon is considered irrelevant since the Department of Health’s White Paper says they will be scrapped. They can therefore have no incentive to ensure that the correct decision is made for the people of Yiewsley both now and in the future.
10.Is the present Health Centre building included in the deal?
11.The Leader of the Council Mr. Ray Puddifoot is on record as saying that Yiewsley pool is not owned by the Council. Can we have clarification of that point?
12.Can we also have clarification of the ownership of the William Bird Pool since £250,000 worth of our tax payers money is allocated to its expansion?
13.Can we have an explanation of why the Council consider it acceptable to be both the owners and planning authority for the decision on the expansion of the William Bird site in direct contravention of the Town and Country?
14..Who paid for the preparation and submission of the plans for the gym at the William Bird?
15.Are the Council willing to offset the expenses incurred by the Chantry’s, Rabb’s Farm and St. Matthews Schools for the transport of pupil to swimming lessons elsewhere, since you are imposing this cost upon them without consultation? Our understanding is that this is part of the curriculum and that they will have no way of allocating this extra cost without making substantial cuts elsewhere.
16.Will the Council please supply details of the Change of Use given for the upper floor of the Library to enable it to operate as a gym and Tae-Kwan-Do club?
17.The estimated cost of demolishing the Yiewsley Pool? We understand that the quote for the demolition of the Hayes pool is £300.000!(Copy of estimate to be supplied.)
18.How is this cost to be funded?
19.The total paid on the upkeep of the Yiewsley Pool within the past ten years? (Schedule to be supplied.)
20.The Council have several times suggested in the press that the GP’s signing up to their plans for a health centre on the site is a done deal. Will they now admit publically that it is not and that no GP practice has in fact agreed to the Council’s plan?
21.Will the Council please explain where the building cost of the proposed health centre is to be funded from if the Council’s plans are chosen rather than the developers deals which are privately funded and incur no costs to the PCT or the Hillingdon Council tax payer?
Yiewsley Community Involvement Group
81A Otterfield Road
Yiewsley, UB7 8PF
The London Borough of Hillingdon
Civic Centre, Uxbridge.
Attention : The Chair Standards Committee.
Dear Sir or Madam,
As the Petitioner at last nights hearing I have been asked to report the behaviour of Councillor Bianco.
I have wide experience of the dismissive attitude of this council but last night’s experience was exceptional even for them.
There were several incidents of bad handling of the public by Councillor Bianco during the proceedings. There was then an incident concerning Councillor Kemp and we all left the room to give him space and wait outside. After about ten minutes of waiting I tried to ask Councillor Bianco if we could actually adjourn the meeting and come back at another point in consideration of Peter Kemp. He shouted at me ‘No, I’m not listening to you!’ and turned his back on be as he did so. There are twelve witnesses to this incident which totally breaks the code of conduct for councillors.
I have attended many hearings with this Council and the public represented have never been treated with such utter contempt and rudeness.
A further incident was when Fred, who was Chair of the Cowley Residents Association, was told to ‘shut up’ and that he would be thrown out if he spoke again. He is 82 and walks with a stick. He swims daily at Yiewsley Pool and is very upset at the move as are the other 1,000 people represented on our petition.
We insist that Councillor Bianco is brought before your Committee to answer for his behaviour; he must never again be able to treat the public he was elected to serve with such arrogance and contempt.
My job involves visiting Councils right round the country and most have a very responsive attitude to their electorate; few are not responsive to public concerns. I have never seen an example of such appalling behaviour elsewhere even where Councils are vehemently against the views of the public.
Planning Policy Statement 1 says that it is us the community who have the right to decide the future shape of our environment, not the Council. You are elected to represent the views of your electorate and it appears it is about time some of your Members were reminded of that.
Councillor Gilhams behaviour also left much to be desired, though that can be partly explained by the fact that he missed the incident in the corridor.
I am reluctant to take this action but I have had four angry phone calls this morning from residents who attended the meeting and were shocked and outraged by the manner in which the public were treated.
CC Local Councillors, Leader of the Council, John Davies.