Fulham Pools restricting access to residents

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Hammersmith and Fulham MP, Greg Hands, has called on Holmes Place to reverse their recent decisions to restrict access to Fulham Pools for local residents. Greg was the co-founder in 1997 of the ‘Save Fulham Pools’ campaign, which fought successfully for public swimming provision in Fulham.

During the summer, David Thomas, the newly appointed manager of Holmes Place and Fulham Pools implemented a ban to all members of the public from using the fitness pool. The reason for refusing access to the fitness pool was given as ‘abuse and vandalism by non Holmes Place members’.

Since July the public have only had use of the gala pool but this too has also seen a continual reduction in lanes available. The increase in swimming lessons has reduced the opportunities for public bathing to a single lane for fitness swimming and two further lanes given for public recreation. David Thomas has announced a new proposal to implement a 'no public bathing' policy in the Gala pool. This could mean that there will be no public swimming from 9-12am and 2-6pm Mon-Fri.

Greg Hands said: “As a result of these restrictions members of the public have lost about thirty-five hours of swimming a week. The public have been unfairly tried, judged and convicted of abuse and vandalism and banned from the fitness pool. They are now to suffer a ban from the gala pool and the Labour Council is supporting and encouraging this.

“Tim Prior, head of Sport and Health at the Council, was party to granting Holmes Place their contract to build a private club in one of our parks and has been entrusted by the residents of this borough to ensure that Holmes Place provide a 'balance' in the provisions to education, the public and its members. Worryingly he has supported Holmes Place and defended their strategy at every level in reducing our swimming provisions to no more than a token and undeniably 'unbalanced' service?”

Local resident and mother, Sarah Gore, said: "Holmes Place has neither respected the spirit nor the letter of the agreement and are effectively trying to ban the public from using Fulham Pools, the only public swimming baths in Hammersmith and Fulham. We did not fight to keep Fulham Pools open purely to generate additional profit for Holmes Place at the expense of council tax paying local residents."

December 21, 2005