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50m pool plan set for go-ahead

Published Tuesday, 16 August 2016

City councillors will meet later this month to discuss plans for a new 50m swimming pool in the city.

The pool is planned for the Alan Higgs Centre, and would be part of a proposed ‘Sports Village’ at the complex which would boast a wide range of community sports facilities, including state of the art facilities for swimming and rugby and a separately funded Training Centre for Wasps.

The pool would be built on the site of the Centre’s indoor football pitch and keeps a promise the Council made in 2014 to do all it could to keep a 50m pool within the city.

The 50m pool at Alan Higgs Centre would be developed along with a new state-of-the-art water park in the city centre in New Union Street, which would see facilities including slides, wave machine, a lazy river, a 25m pool and numerous other features.

The work is all part of a pledge by the Council to develop accessible and high quality sport and public leisure facilities in the city and councillors are being asked to approve the plans – subject to certain conditions.

They are also being asked to approve using £10.5 million to help fund the pool with the remainder of the £16.9 million expected to come through external funding.

Cllr Caan, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Sport said: “This is all part of our ten year Sports Strategy, which has already seen a  fantastic new £7.85m pool built at Centre AT7.

“We have recently approved plans for a £36.7million water park in the city centre, which will be a major fun attraction to bring people in to Coventry from across the region, and now we will have a pool fit to train our Olympic and Paralympic champions of the future.

“We have always been clear that we, in Coventry, are proud of our 50m pool and of our swimming heritage and we were determined to protect this if possible. The old pool is much loved, but, unfortunately, is no longer viable or fit-for-purpose and we need something new.

“Now, working with Coventry and Warwickshire Award Trust, the new owners of the Alan Higgs Centre, we can provide top new facilities in easy reach for all and I’m sure the new pool – and all the enhanced facilities at the centre – will prove very popular.”

The new development at the Alan Higgs will include:

  • 50 metre, eight lane swimming pool - including spectator seating for 500 people, two moveable floors and a moveable boom
  • Swimming Development Education Room and offices
  • Extension of existing Fitness Suite from 55 stations to 100 -120 stations
  • 30% extension to Function Room space (to support aquatic events / galas)
  • Rugby Development Education Room and Offices (to complement additional Wasps’ investment on site in a Training Centre)

The pool would allow the City of Coventry Swimming Club to keep its Beacon Club status and to continue to train and compete across short and long-course swimming and water polo. The Club has over 600 members and fields competitive swim squads of all levels.

The Council would also work with the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) to make sure that it creates a pool that will meet the demands of community and club level swimming.

Charles Johnston, Sport England’s property director, said:

“Coventry City Council’s plans to improve sports facilities are really exciting, and we’ve been following their development with interest. We looking forward to see the plans progress.”

Jane Nickerson, interim CEO of the ASA, said: “The developments outlined today will provide a range of new, high quality swimming facilities that both the local community and the City of Coventry Swimming Club will be able to use and enjoy. 

“We have been working with Coventry City Council over the past two years to help identify the swimming needs of the City. We will continue to do so to ensure the facilities meet all the necessary criteria for Coventry Swimming Club and all swimmers in the City.”

Councillors will discuss the plans at a meeting of the Cabinet on 30 August, with a report going to Full Council on 6 September.

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