Dead in the water? Critics of St George’s Academy’s pool plans (including Sport England) remain unconvinced

How the new pool would look. EMN-171001-113208001
How the new pool would look. EMN-171001-113208001

Cold water has been poured on plans for a new £3.7 million swimming pool at a Sleaford school after a catalogue of criticism from key consultees, including Lincolnshire Highways and Sport England.

Last summer, St George’s Academy relaunched its proposal for a six lane, 25m swimming pool with spectator seating and fitness suite on its Sleaford site to cater for its own students, competitions and potentially pupils from surrounding schools to serve demand.

And now key consultees have returned their verdict - raising a number of criticisms.

Neighbours and highways officials are concerned about increased traffic over a temporary access off The Drove, while Sport England remains unconvinced that there is even a viable case for such a pool.

Academy principal Wayne Birks insisted: “Plans for the pool are with the (North Kesteven) District Council.

“We continue to have positive discussions with Highways, the district council and Sport England on outstanding concerns and work on resolving issues is ongoing.”

The planning documents state Sport England has objected claiming the case for the new facilities ‘remains to be made’ and the sports benefits ‘still need to be clearly demonstrated’.

Sport England adds that there needs to be clear business planning and community use information, saying the plans lack sufficient evidence that the new facility and enhancements to the remaining playing field would outweigh loss of courts, temporary disruption of playing field and artificial grass pitch and potential detrimental effect on the sustainability of the existing town pool.

Last summer Mr Birks had told The Standard a competition swimming pool was not currently available in the local area and was an important element of the proposals.

“Our vision is to ensure that all Academy students can swim and, by early 2018, we hope to have brought that vision to reality,” he added at the time.

Lincolnshire County Council Highways has objected to use of The Drove for construction vehicles, which it says is ‘likely to result in unacceptable conflict between construction vehicles/delivery vehicles and other traffic that routinely uses this road due to the almost constant presence of vehicles parked on The Drove at its western end’.

The Highways officers add: “We are already aware of capacity issues at the junction of The Drove with Northgate and in fact developments off this road have been limited by planning conditions to avoid exacerbating those capacity issues.”

They suggested using the existing Westgate access, as used for previous construction projects.

Neighbours on The Drove have insisted the access should only be temporary for construction.

l What do you think? Email andy.hubbert@jpress.co.uk