Worthing swimming pool plans come under fire

Stefan Sykes has criticised the latest swimming pool plans
Stefan Sykes has criticised the latest swimming pool plans

WORTHING Council is facing fire from two directions over its plans for the new £19.7million swimming pool.

Seafront café owner Stefan Sykes claims it is no longer planned to integrate the southern part of the pool design into the esplanade – meaning that the two areas will be completely separate.

And Worthing Lib Dems says democracy has “taken a step backward” as Adur cabinet councillors will be sitting in on a meeting which will decide on offers for the sale of the old Aquarena site.

Mr Sykes, who runs the esplanade’s Coast Café, said the pool complex’s southern boundary would be sealed off from the promenade, and there would be an unsightly gap between it and the eastern end of the raised walkway, and kiosk tower.

If this revised plan went ahead, there would be no need to remove the walkway’s centre section, thus saving demolition costs of around £100,000.

Mr Sykes said he thought money problems had led to the plans being altered, but it would be a “false economy”.

A Worthing Council spokeswoman said: “We have to demolish the central elevated section to provide the security needed for the external terraces/new pool building.

“For cost reasons, it has been agreed to do the external terrace linkage with the existing walkway (east side) and first-floor kiosk in two phases.

“Phase 1 (affordable in the current scheme) will provide no public access; phase two will provide full public access (via the pool), but will be done at a later date when finance is available.

“The two separated sections will look identical, but only the west side will be publicly accessible.

“The east side will not be allowed to become ‘derelict’.”

The council’s Lib Dems said that under the new “stream-lined” committee system, democracy was taking a step backwards because Adur cabinet members would be on the joint strategic committee to consider the Aquarena site sale.

“Worthing’s new swimming pool has been hailed as the most important decision for the town in decades – yet the discussion is shared with Adur and squeezed into an agenda for the two councils,” said a Lib Dem statement.

“Liberal Democrats accept that only Worthing cabinet members will vote, but surely this important matter deserves a better forum – one in which Worthing has a voice on our own.”

Council leader Paul Yallop said holding fewer meetings of councillors was saving £100,000 a year, and Adur councillors would not be able vote on the sale of the pool site.

He added he hoped a start would be made soon on building the new pool, but the large number of tenders for the work were still being considered.