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Reply To: Desirability of 3rd Pool

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This response was posted on behalf of Tom Kemeny

On Wednesday we rushed from Knightsbridge, where we live, to swim in the outdoor pool, but discovered that it does not open until 11:30am. We went to the indoor pool and found the following:
1. The first lane on the right, next to the jacuzzi, was filled with children. It was great to see that they were enjoying the Club in their half term.
2. The next two lanes had 3 or 4 swimmers each, struggling to all swim without bumping into each other.
3. I was in the far lane where there was a young boy of about 7 or 8 having a private lesson, which is great but he took up half of the fourth lane. I was lucky to get a clear path so I could do my laps back and forth.
4. I would guess there were 6 or 7 adults at the most and a lady waiting on the steps for 20 minutes until I stopped to give her my space.
Admittedly, it is half term, but I am told it’s quite frequent and the indoor pool really is not adequate and cannot cope with private lessons, group lessons, training of the swimming team, normal swimmers and people walking in the pool for water therapy.

There is a simple, elegant, inexpensive solution for building a second indoor pool, immediately adjacent to the current pool. It’s using the space where the abandoned squash courts are. Please note that the four squash courts are almost the size of the existing indoor pool. They are contained in a separate building from the main pool structure and can (according to an engineer, a member of Hurlingham who sadly drowned) be converted into two pools or one pool, raising the ground level so that it’s all on one level with the main pool. The existing corridor can also be adjusted to the main pool and new pool(s) are linked, all on one level and would use the existing large family swimming changing rooms which would be in the middle of the two. Best of all, as the 4 squash courts are a separate building, all of the work can be done without affecting the indoor pool, which can remain in use, except for a short time while the two spaces are connected.

The simplest of drawings and costings could be provided for free, or a few thousand pounds, as part of the Horizon budget of £250,000. Or, the main committee could approve this small expense, if there is any. I would think that any qualified, major builder would be happy to provide Hurlingham with a quote and get an indicative price for free. I would estimate the project in the £2-3 million range.

What I do not understand is why the Horizon committee, in their so-called “moderate plan” costing £14.5-16m is not even considering a second indoor pool. With respect, on what is this decision based? Do you have statistics about how many people play cricket, boules, ping pong, indoor and outdoor tennis, indoor and outdoor swimming, croquet and use the gym? If you have this data, can you please share it? It would be good to have this data, and without spending any money, the wise members of the committee, myself and other members can meet informally and at least have a discussion based on factual information.

What is clear is that the membership is ageing and this membership will mostly require the indoor pool and gym for all sorts of reasons, including medical therapy. Any one person walking in the pool for therapy, or a child having a lesson, takes up a whole lane.

I respectfully suggest that you circulate this suggestion and give us an opportunity to meet informally once a month with the chairman and Horizon committee members, so we can discuss this in person and exchange ideas. These comments are from two members who have been members for 50 years, with 11 paying family members. We have a good understanding of what works and what doesn’t, the same as anyone in our splendid Club.

Please note that years ago, before the location of the gym was chosen, I advocated that the gym be put in place of the four squash courts on two levels, which would have provided a much larger space, without the need to cross the car park in the existing gym, which was too small when built, later enlarged and now still too small, requiring more millions to make it bigger. That was before the West Wing debacle. Let’s please bear in mind that there are precedents for making wrong decisions.

Our suggestions come from a place of care and concern for our Club, and we are simply urging the Club to provide the facilities we so desperately need, which can be done at a very reasonable price in the context of all other projects being considered.