Extend the opening periods of Hitchin and Letchworth Outdoor Pools

Extend the opening periods of Hitchin and Letchworth Outdoor Pools

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Susan Foster started this petition to North Herts District Council

Hitchin and Letchworth outdoor pools are currently open for less than four months - from the end of May to early September. In summary, we would like our pools to be open from the beginning of April to the end of September. There are many factors which justify this request:

1. There has been a renewed interest in open water swimming especially since lockdowns and the number of swimmers is likely to increase even further [1 ]. Many swimmers, myself included, swim every single day, rain or shine. Many North Herts swimmers have to visit other lidos/rivers/lakes etc once our pools are closed but not everyone is able to do this. Rivers and lakes are not always safe to swim in because of the risks of safety and pollution - much in the news at the moment [2]. Also in Hertfordshire our nearest sea bathing beaches are around 100 miles away.

2. Health Benefits - swimming is well known to improve mental and physical health and fitness. It is especially important for those who cannot exercise in other ways due to health conditions or ageing [3]. It has an important role in tackling obesity [4]; fighting depression and dementia [5]. Also the risk of contracting Covid-19 is lower and people feel safer than when swimming in a crowded indoor pool.

3. Community: outdoor pools are wonderfully sociable and inclusive places, where the local community can find companionship, conversation and laughter as well as exercise. Indoor pools just don’t have the same atmosphere. If the pools are opened for longer, they could be used more for the wider sporting community as well as for one-off events (film, music, fun galas, dog swims etc) which would provide an additional income stream.

4. Changing climate - due to our warming climate, spring starts earlier and the summer warmth lasts for longer, with an increased demand for outdoor activities.

5. Tourist Attraction - people travel from all over the region to swim in our pools. 50m pools are a real draw to swimmers. I know from personal experience that since the publication of ‘The Lido Guide’ swimmers have come from much farther afield.

We understand that financing outdoor pools is tricky but surely they provide a vital public service and finance should not be the overriding factor.

Although not a preferred option, one solution might be that the opening and closing periods of the two pools are staggered so that swimmers have a longer outdoor season. This would therefore not involve double expenditure on lifeguard salaries. For example one pool could open one month earlier than normal and the other close one month later.

There is nothing quite like swimming in a lido. Hitchin and Letchworth outdoor pools are our happy places - I go there not only to exercise, but to laugh [a lot}, cry {sometimes}, chat, sort out my problems, and recover from the stresses and worries of everyday life and I know my fellow swimmers feel the same.  Please, please let us do all of these things for longer each summer

[1] 

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/oct/24/cold-comfort-uk-outdoor-swimming-venues-stay-open-to-meet-demand

[2] 

https://www.theriverstrust.org/key-issues/sewage-in-rivers

[3] https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/swimming-for-fitness/

[4] https://www.swimming.org/swimengland/swimming-can-help-obesity-strategy/

[5] https://www.swimming.org/swimengland/positive-impacts-swimming-people-living-dementia/

 

 

 

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!