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Desirability of 3rd Pool

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    I think it’s hard to justify the many millions required for a 3rd pool. I don’t believe there is enough demand.
    How about optimising current pools eg making floor less slippy in outdoor pool, towel provision, working showers in indoor pool that are hot enough and have better water pressure, cleaning the bottom of the indoor pool (green and slimy last few times I was in there).


    I am definitely in favour of another indoor pool at a warmer temperature! I took my one year old daughter to the indoor pool last weekend and she didn’t want to swim; I think it’s because it’s too cold! She loves swimming in the outdoor kids pool. I think another indoor pool for kids could be amazing – it could have things like a slide and sprinklers. It could be so fun and keep kids entertained all through our grey and rainy winters!


    An important part of the logic of the 2nd indoor pool is to cater for the expected INCREASE in demand, especially by children but also at the older end of our demographic. We currently have 80% more members in their early 30s than we do in their early 40s, so it is predictable that as the early 30s start to have families, we will have 80% more members under 10, and more demand from children for swimming and lessons. Equally, the number of older adults will increase as our bulge currently aged around 70 grows older; fortunately member longevity is very good, so we can predicting many more members in their 80s than we have now.

    For the moment, we are trying to see if adult members can be attracted to the outdoor pool in winter. We will see how attractive that proves to be. The WW is the largest project, and will be less disruptive to members if it were sequenced after any other major projects that we might do, so my guess is that even if we do go ahead with changes to the WW, the decision whether of not to include a second pool will not be made for perhaps 5 or more years – so by then we will have plenty of data on whether we can cope with many more children and whether swimmers are happy to go to the outdoor pool year round.


    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.


    Response posted on behalf of Richard Rawlinson.

    A second pool is certainly an important sports priority, and is envisaged as an option in the moderate West Wing plan.

    The best place to understand sports priorities that have been defined is by reviewing the Sports Horizon open meeting presentation and recording from 6 October, which are on the Club website, in the Horizon section. We looked at the sports usage statistics that we have, and the self-reported statistics from the satisfaction survey (the full survey is on the Club website). (We have also compiled some stats on eg registered croquet players, but for some sports like croquet there are many unregistered players also, so these stats are not very useful.). Although the numbers do not show any notable growth in the use of the indoor pool, we are aware of the capacity issues at certain point; overall usage statistics are helpful only up to a certain point. In the member satisfaction survey, the indoor pool and its changing rooms were the second lowest ranked sports facility (the tennis pavilion was the lowest ranked); dissatisfaction with the indoor pool is particularly high in the 75+ age group.

    Priorities for development projects have been identified in a variety of ways, including usage statistics, responses to the various surveys, operational data, comments in open meetings and from the Horizon Consultative Forum. The principal subcommittees have played a major role, and in this case the sports committee is the relevant one. The second indoor pool is one of their key priorities.

    We will shortly be launching a survey to all members to try to establish members general appetite for development, their willingness to pay for it, and their priorities as to the areas to be developed. Main Committee will then approve a overall development programme, which will identify which areas of the Club we will modify, for what purpose and in what sequence, all in line with the financial constraints established on the basis of members’ views of trade-offs between cost, disruption and improvement. The specific design for each area to be developed will be created as and when it comes time to move forward with that project.

    You suggest that we go ahead with a smaller project in the West Wing, focused purely on a second indoor pool. However, the West Wing is capable of providing solutions not just for swimming, but for a variety of other identified needs, including more space for the Café (the old Harness Room is not considered adequate), better changing facilities, a sports bar and various other needs. Different members will have different priorities, and we are trying to accommodate as many of those that have been validated and prioritised by the committees as we can, looking across the whole estate.

    The focused project you suggest would makes sense, if you believe that the second pool is a high priority and the other improvements are not needed, or at least much less important. However, there were other sports priorities that were equally important or higher priority, notable the tennis pavilion and its changing rooms, and the gym expansion. Moreover, if there were a single leading priority at the overall Club level, it would probably be in the F&B area and within that, the improvements to the Café. Of the 868 members responding and commenting on development priorities, about 500 suggested improving our food service facilities, while about 90 suggested the indoor pool and changing rooms (and the changing rooms came in for particular criticism).

    Improvements to the Café are the number 1 priority for F&B and they will involve major changes to the West Wing, so we don’t think it would make sense to do a project in the West Wing focused just on the second pool. Which leads us back to the proposals that have been developed by TRA, which include (or can include) a second pool, but also address other priorities. When you look at the moderate schemes TRA have developed I expect you will be surprised that the second pool is an option and not a central requirement. We will have to address this question, as and when we come to the design of the West Wing. There are some trade-offs, in that the social and other facilities like studios could take the space required for a second indoor pool. There has also been some vocal opposition expressed to the second pool; I hope and expect that, in the spirit of compromise, members will support a plan that provides the facilities that they each think is important, even if it also provides facilities that others think important but they do not. Put simply, I do not think we would currently get the votes for a plan that added only the second indoor pool; the second pool is much more likely to be supported, if it is a component of a programme (indeed, a West Wing project) that also provides facilities for members who are most exercised e.g. about the F&B facilities. The survey statistics suggest there are many more of the latter than there are those who actively want a second pool.

    I hope that is clear on the approach that we are adopting and the reasons why; I understand that you would prefer to go more directly and immediately to create a second indoor pool and this approach is likely to be slower and will certainly involve more overall expense, but I hope you can take comfort from the fact that a second indoor pool is very firmly part of the Horizon planning.


    Response posted on behalf of Tom Kemeny

    The reason I wrote is because the last communication I had with the Horizon team informed me that a second indoor pool was not in the moderate Horizon plan. I understand any final decision about second indoor pool will not be made for a while and the survey that will be sent out in November will not cover that topic.


    Response sent of behalf of Richard Rawlinson.

    The second pool was an option under the WW moderate plan and that choice is not being made at this point.

    Asking members about it in the survey would be an obvious thing to do, so why are we not doing that? The main reason is that there is a fair chance that the West Wing will not be the first project, so the need for a decision is quite likely some years away. Renovating the West Wing will be less disruptive for members if we have already moved changing and studios to the North Wing and have already created some attractive Member-dedicated F&B facilities in the East Wing. Plus, the West Wing will be the biggest project so we would rather build member confidence in the Club (which is an issue) by completing other small projects successfully first.

    If the West Wing configuration is decided in, say 4-7 years from now, then at a minimum, any decision on 2nd pool/no pool might then be disputed as out of date; and it might well in fact be different, as by then the pressure from more children will have started to build in reality vs in anticipation, and we will also have solid data on to what to extent the outdoor pool is an alternative for members. Finally, the cost difference of a pool vs no pool is put at about £1 million, which is not a critically large sum in the Horizon context; even with maintenance capital only, the Club in 2022 will already be spending that in capex about every quarter.


    I agree that a third pool is an unnecessary expense that would possibly, instead of adding some value, be an eye sore and need another new building to be built. I think overall the Hurlingham club is lovely as it is and should be maintained rather than building more and more new buildings. I think keeping the style and current buildings/architecture is already an expense but a privilege to be able to use these rooms and the facilities. I think it needs to be appreciated more and it does not need to change at all.


    There is no suggestion of a new building to accommodate a 2nd indoor pool. If we add it, it would be located within the existing West Wing in the area currently occupied by the now redundant old squash courts.


    As mother to two young children (aged 3 and 5) i can say that the indoor pool is not fit for purpose for them as it’s just too cold. My youngest in particular is shivering within a few minutes and I have to take her out. We rarely use it in the winter anymore because it is just too cold and we worry they will get sick. This is a huge limitation for us as a family in terms of how we use the club as really swimming is the main activity we would choose to do with children of this age. Another issue with the indoor pool is the family changing room which is woefully inadequate. It is far too small and parents find themselves squashed in there changing and getting their children ready. It is quite an awkward experience I find as a woman trying to get showered and changed with dads around, particularly if there are no cubicles free.


    Hi Serena, thank you for your comments. I passed this onto Danny Sitton our Sports Executive who asked me to post this on his behalf.

    ‘I completely understand your comments about the pool temperature and I really do sympathise. As a rule, we aim for a pool water temperature of 29.5C which is a compromise between those who want a higher water temperature and those who prefer it cooler. Our lane swimmers generally prefer a temperature which is lower than 29C and for children’s lessons it would ideally be around 30C – although the 29.5C temperature we have suits no-one perfectly, it seems to be fairest compromise considering the multiple groups who use the pool. This is one of the main reasons why we would like a second indoor pool at the Club – it would allow us to have a cooler pool for lane swimmers and a warmer pool for leisurely swimming and lessons.

    Furthermore, our Maintenance Team have an ongoing challenge in controlling the temperature of the indoor pool. There was a period a few months ago where the temperature was a little too warm (between 30C – 31C) and since then, the temperature has settled between 29C – 29.5C which is a fraction too cool. The air temperature in the area also has bearing on the swimming experience and the Maintenance Team are trying to make adjustments to this to make it feel a little warmer.’

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