|Posted on June 24, 2017 at 6:05 PM|
This last week has been Drowning Prevention Week, an event to raise awareness of the dangers of 'wild' swimming, and promoting learning to swim. Our dear Council have of course not lost the opportunity to commemorate it, advising the public to use Hinksey Pool.
Oxford has lots of water, and it's vital that everyone learns to swim. You'd think the City Council would support that objective, but sadly they put barriers in the way. Instead of working with the communities that want(ed) their pools kept open, the Council has systematically closed three pools over the last 10 years, and only opened one. These three are Peers at Rose Hill, bizarrely replaced by a sports academy that doesn't have a pool, Temple Cowley Pools (which we all know about), and Blackbird Leys pool. The one they've built is Leys, at Blackbird Leys.
It's easy to forget the campaign to keep Peers open over ten years ago. People at Rose Hill were incensed at the closure; all the Council was prepared to do was recommend users switched to, yes, Temple Cowley Pools. A bus was, after 18 months delay, put on to enable swimmers to travel between Rose Hill and Templars Square.
And Blackbird Leys Pool? This was a community pool, opened in 1965, and welcomed by the community at the time. Kept warmer than other pools, it was used by the Canoe Club and groups such as the Over 50s and disabled. None of these groups were consulted when it was closed - but we're used to that in Oxford.
So, a history of tragic accidents in Oxford water, handwringing by the Council and their action? Close three pools and open one - this is not the way a council supports the community. We need a replacement for Temple Cowley Pools to enable easy access to swimming for the thousands of people who can't sensibly walk or cycle to a public swimming pool in Oxford.