Agenda item

Public Participation

Any member of the public who wishes to ask a question, make representations or present a deputation or petition at this meeting should apply to do so by no later than 0:01am (one minute past midnight) two working days before the meeting.  Information on how to make the application can be obtained by viewing the Council’s Website www.southlakeland.gov.uk or by contacting the Committee Services Team on 01539 733333.

 

(1)        Questions and Representations

 

            To receive any questions or representations which have been received from members of the public.

 

(2)        Deputations and Petitions

 

            To receive any deputations or petitions which have been received from members of the public.

Minutes:

Mrs Terry Lambert addressed Council with regard to swimming provision in South Lakeland and Cumbria.  She referred to the 1970s and the former pool on Allhallows Lane and that at Troutbeck Bridge which had been built by public subscription so that local children would not have to learn to swim in the lake.  Mrs Lambert had been involved in all aspects of club administration and had trained as a teacher, coach, official, timekeeper, judge and referee at club, county, district, national and international level.  She had been the Club County representative and had served as Cumbria Amateur Swimming Association President in 2007/08.  Mrs Lambert’s perspective was with regard to the impact of the lack of a 50 metre pool on the rural North West.  Recent changes required swimmers to gain regional, national or international qualifying times in 50 metre pools in order for them to be able to take part in regional or national competitions.  This had placed Cumbria’s ten clubs’ swimmers, and those of North Lancashire, at a serious disadvantage, with no pool available to meet the requirements.  The North West Region tried to provide opportunities for clubs and their members to train in a 50 metre pool, however, were only able to offer pool space at Liverpool Aquatics Centre in 2019 which involved a large amount of travel and cost.  Some Cumbria clubs had had to make costly private arrangements with other pools outside of the area, sometimes involving overnight stays.  Mrs Lambert raised the fact that local clubs had also been disadvantaged by the loss of pools such as Troutbeck Bridge, and local schools struggled to find the finances and time to travel to distant pools in order to fulfil the required swimming lesson timetables.  The problem was not limited to indoor swimming pools, with blue green algae present in many lakes.  Most clubs had open water swimmers, triathletes and Masters’ swimmers.  The popularity of the Great North Swim and the Chill Swims and similar activities were proof of the willingness of people to take part in outdoor swimming and to travel here to do so.  At a time when improvements were being made to Ulverston and Grange Baths, Mrs Lambert considered it important to raise this issue.  If Cumbria swimmers and school children wanted to aim and succeed in becoming international and Olympic swimmers, they needed a 50 metre pool.

 

Mr George Parr referred to the Save Grange Lido petition and pointed out that South Lakeland District Council’s obligations were to satisfy the realities.  He also pointed out that the Save Grange Lido Group had not exposed their ideas in a public meeting in Grange.  Mr Parr felt that some of the support for the petition was politically motivated, pointing out that he had received encouragement to support it for political reasons.  He suggested that this could reduce the petition’s persuasiveness for the Save Grange Lido Group’s cause.  Mr Parr raised that the significant reason for the previous pool closure in 1993 had been low usage and wondered whether the potential for reversal of this had been convincingly demonstrated by the Save Grange Lido Group.  Mr Parr referred to the site having been listed Grade II by Historic England.  He pointed out that Historic England was in support of the Council’s designs, however, that the Save Grange Lido Group’s designs had not yet gained that support.  Mr Parr informed Council that, within the last month, volunteer staff from Grange Community Interest Company had been asked by a Save Grange Lido activist about a bridge over the railway line that used to provide direct pedestrian access to the Lido from the car park.  He pointed out that that bridge had been demolished some 12 years ago and felt that Save Grange Lido Group’s query on this basic matter might suggest that problems of access required more consideration.  Mr Parr quoted from the Consulting Structural Engineer’s Report of 6 November 2018 which stated that the position of Save Grange Lido could not be defended by rational argument and should be rejected; the condition of the concrete was generally poor, beyond practical concrete surgical repair; grouting the underground tanks and infilling the pool with granular material would relieve all the primary elements; and this vision for the Lido was the most durable outcome in safeguarding the historic structure over the long term.  Mr Parr stressed that it would be foolish for South Lakeland District Council not to act in accordance with this professional advice.

 

Peter Endsor, Councillor, Chairman, and Mayor of Grange Town Council spoke on behalf of the Town.  He said that Grange Town Council had been working with South Lakeland District Council for several years to resolve the problem of the Lido.  South Lakeland District Council had carried out public consultation in Grange community and now had a way forward.  He indicated that Grange Town Council continued to support the “light touch” refurbishment being proposed by South Lakeland District Council.  This was because Grange Town Council believed that it was the most effective way of bringing the Lido back into the community where it belonged.  On behalf of the community, which Grange Town Council listened to, it wished to see:-

 

·         the site re-opened to the public, as soon as possible;

·         the heritage buildings preserved sympathetically and attractively; and

·         the site to be economically viable and low risk in terms of ongoing cost.

 

The Town Council’s goal was for the area to become, once again, an asset to the Promenade and Town; a community facility rather than a derelict eyesore.  Town Councillors had listened carefully to the alternative vision presented and had read all the documentation.  They had also listened to the members of their community.  Councillor Endsor had spoken to a lot of Grange residents, some of whom had signed the petition which was being presented at the meeting.  He said that they had told him that they had signed the petition thinking that the buildings were going to be demolished and used as rubble to infill the pool.  He said that most people would be happy with the light touch restoration.  He was referring to the people who had phoned, emailed the Town Council and spoken at its meetings, and who had also spoken to Town Councillors in the street.  Councillor Endsor felt that the refurbishment as proposed by South Lakeland District Council would be economically sustainable and would be used by the public all the year round.  The District Council had 100% support from the Town Council which hoped that the light touch refurbishment would go ahead as planned.

 

Council was addressed by Town Councillor Claire Logan who had been born and brought up in Grange and, after a brief period of living in the north of our county, had returned to the Town with her family.  Councillor Logan practiced as a solicitor in Grange and her children attended Grange Primary School.  Grange held an enormous place in her heart.  Councillor Logan informed Council that she had become one of the first directors of the not-for-profit Grange-over-Sands Lido Community Interest Company at its incorporation on 10 April 2018.  Councillor Logan, as many locals, had fond memories of the Lido from when she was a child: swimming galas; watching people diving; and the cold water!  She had also seen photos of her late Father standing on poolside as a lifeguard.  Councillor Logan said that the Lido had been an important facility for Grange since 1932 and the people of the Town once more wanted it to become an important place again, for both themselves and visitors.  Large numbers used the Promenade regularly and it was natural for them to see the Lido site as an extension of the Promenade.  Councillor Logan doubted very much that large numbers of townspeople would regularly use an outdoor pool in the future.  Those who did enjoy a chilly dip in the open air would naturally migrate to the numerous bodies of water in the neighbouring Lake District to undertake the, ever-increasing in popularity, pass time of wild swimming.  Councillor Logan imagined that the Lido site would bring great benefit to the people of Grange and its visitors if it became a multi-purpose space which was allowed to develop organically.  The Save Grange Lido Group business plan included the establishment of two holiday lets.  If such a proposal materialised and received planning permission, Councillor Logan was of the opinion that many people in the Town would see this as the first steps towards their Lido becoming an exclusive spa-type facility with expensive holiday lets and no space for community use.  Councillor Logan felt that this important heritage site deserved a fresh lease of life, with a low-risk plan to give the community multiple possibilities without becoming an expensive burden to South Lakeland District Council taxpayers in years to come.  She felt that the “light touch” plan put forward by the District Council to date was fantastic.  It reopened the site to the community and its visitors which was what people wanted to see.  It provided an opportunity to work together, as a Community, to make the space accessible to all.