Pathetic Pool Plans
Okay – so as you can see from Joe’s pic here, stuff IS happening at the Heart of East Greenwich site. Whether they’re actually doing anything useful or just moving earth around to abide by rules that say they have to be seen to have started by a particular date is yet to be seen, but at least something’s happening. From a distance, this photo looks like a lovely cornfield, but obviously it’s just your bog-standard urban brownfield site.
You’d have thought you could do anything with a site like that, wouldn’t you? You’re starting afresh – a blank canvas, carte-blanche, virgin territory and other such clichés. You could say you wanted a this, a that or a something else and it would be doable, because there’s nothing there to stop you, yeah?
I’ve been hearing about the young divers at Greenwich Swimming Club. As most people know, the new leisure centre at our blank canvas site will have two pools – a splash-around fun /teaching pool and a serious ‘fitness’ pool. Perfect for the club, eh?
Elaine, one of the swimmers’ mums, explains:
Unfortunately, the depth of the water in the new fitness pool is a major problem for us. The bottom of the pool is a ‘V’ shape. It will be 1 metre deep (or shallow) at both ends, and 1.5 metres deep in the middle.
Although you are allowed to dive in when the pool is 1 metre deep, the ASA – our governing body – recommends a depth of 1.8 metres for swimmers to practice dives in.
To put it in perspective, the shallow end at the Eltham Centre’s pool is 1 metre deep. And no swimmer – not even top swimmers at a gala – are allowed to dive in as they deem that it is too shallow to dive in.
Greenwich is an Olympic Borough, but plans to build a brand new pool which a swimming club can’t learn to dive in.
I was puzzled by this – I mean – you have the opportunity here to build something extraordinary and already, before work’s begun, it’s a second-class development that other boroughs laugh at and no serious swimmers will touch. Forget any future competitions being held there or potential Greenwich divers at the Brazil Olympics.
Mary Mills was puzzled too, not least because she thought it had thought it had been sorted out several years ago.
Here’s the reply she got. The bits I’ve put into bold are what I suspect are the real reasons for cutting corners, the bits in red are my own additions.
We have been briefing representatives of Greenwich Swimming Clubs in relation to the depth of the proposed swimming pools at the new Greenwich Centre. They have asked for the pool to be deepened from1.5 metres in the agreed (by whom?) design to a depth of 1.8 metres.
The current proposals are based on the requirements identified by GLL and representatives of the Boroughs client team (Qui est-ce?). They aim to meet the needs of the community as a whole. They are also affordable within the budget agreed by members.
The current proposal is for both pools to have a double shallow end with their deepest point in the middle of the pool .
The advantage of this approach to our residents is
1. Greater teaching water capacity for Learn to Swim Programme
2. Improved leisure water for family use
3. Higher Quality replacement of Arches LC which has considerable shallow water in the leisure pool.
4. Ability to programme aquarobics in one linear half of the pool and still have
3 x 25m lanes
Actually, fair do’s. I buy all these reasons – but there is a dedicated fun/teaching pool for that sort of thing. What we’re talking about here is the serious ‘fitness pool’ for people who are looking to take the sport to another level. A pool like, um, the one we have at the moment at the Arches which will be closed when this one opens.
The Amateur Swimming Association say 1 metre is deep enough to turn and dive in competitively.
But Eltham Pool, run by the same council, doesn’t allow diving in that depth because it’s dangerous.
The Borough and its operators view is that deeper water inhibits and restricts more general family and recreational use as well as non club lessons.
Again – what are they doing in the ‘serious’ pool? That’s what the leisure pool’s for.
Swimmers can learn to dive and turn elsewhere in the Borough and then will be able to dive and turn at the Greenwich Centre. The deep end at the Eltham pool is 2 m and the deep end at the Lido which will be open before the Greenwich Centre is also 2 m.
Can I just say ‘brrrrrrrrr’ in December?
For comparative purposes the Waterfront Fitness Pool is double shallow ended at 0.9 m with the deep section in the middle at 1.5m. While making one area of the pool 300 mm deeper might not seem to be that great an issue it actually represents significant additional expenditure which has not been identified as part of the Scheme and Estimate.
As the pool is in the basement any additional depth means further digging out. There is a high water table under the Greenwich Centre and the building is going to have to have what is known as a grout blanket underneath it to prevent water coming up through the foundations.
Doesn’t that put half of Greenwich in trouble? Where can I buy one of these grout blankets? Looks like I’m going to need one at Phantom Towers come the Mighty Flood…
This water will also be at quite a high pressure. The base slab for the building all needs to be at the same leveltherefore the digging out of the extra 300 mm will need to be across the whole footprint of the site and not just the area where the pool is deeper.
Yes, but the developers always knew that that’s what happens with swimming pools in basements. Surely they should have taken that into account when they made the decision to have a pool there?
There are other implications where a deeper pool means a greater volume to water so that a larger plant room is required. This leads to an estimate of additional extra costs of £1.1m.as well delays to the overall programme to the scheme. The basement is a complex technical construction and underpins the Centre as a whole.
I don’t know. I know we’re in trouble financially, but this seems to be a long-term investment where, if corners are cut now, the future citizens of Greenwich are going to hate us forever. In an Olympic year, it appears we’re considering building a fitness swimming pool that isn’t fit for purpose from the start.
Just a thought – but is it too late to apply for Olympic Legacy money? After all we’re getting precious little else…
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