INSPIRATIONAL Paralympic swimming gold medal winner Ellie Simmonds has been confirmed as the star who will be opening the new Splash Point pool.
Worthing Borough Council leader welcomed the news at a budget meeting last week, which highlighted a range of further encouraging news for the area including confirmation that council tax would be frozen for a third year in a row.
Speaking on the Splash Point pool, Mr Yallop believed it was still on schedule for opening in just over eight weeks’ time in early May, before a grand formal event with Ellie Simmonds on June 20.
He said: “Ellie Simmonds was my first choice for opening the pool, so it’s great that we have managed to get her to come down for this.
“She is a real inspiration to young people in what she has achieved at just 18 years of age. We are hoping it will encourage those who perhaps never used the pool before to take up swimming.
“I’ve been on a site visit to the pool this week and it is looking quite spectacular. I think people are going to be surprised just how good it is, with amazing views of the sea from the gym that will be within the site.
“There’s still quite a lot of work that needs to be done, but we are still hoping it will be ready for early May before the opening event in June.”
The Herald’s website has received a broad response to our story on its progress earlier this month.
While dozens of comments on our website welcomed the new £17million facility which features a main 25 metre pool and second smaller family pool, some criticism was made over its cost, size and perceived issues over car parking.
In response, Mr Yallop said: “We are well aware of the parking issue for the site and are hoping to continue using the present car park in the short-term and have also put more spaces adjacent to the site, but there is a limit to what we can put in there because of planning restrictions.”
Commenting on other aspects of the council’s budget, Mr Yallop believed that council tax being frozen was important to offer a boost in hard economic times.
He hoped its latest budget was “a budget for growth” despite the council receiving reduced funding from central Government, with its overall budget now being £14.5million as against more than £16million just two years ago.
Among key initiatives emerging from the latest budget were hopes that more money could be retained by the council from business rates, which could be re-invested in public services.