At last night’s meeting of Kettering Council’s Research & Development Committee it was agreed to set up a working party to look in more detail of the whole issue of a new swimming pool.
The Committee were presented with a report from officers highlighting the financial cost of conducting a full feasibility study and there were undoubtedly some that were hoping the committee would kick the whole idea into touch as simply being unaffordable.
However, before making any recommendation to the Council’s ruling Executive Committee, I proposed that as the issue was so important, we should spend more time looking into the detail before coming to a final decision.
My proposal was seconded by independent Councillor Michael Brown, and after a long debate it was agreed to set up a working party with Councillors carrying out an inspection of the current pool and visiting other new pools that have been successfully built by other local councils, as well as gathering evidence from people in the industry that have experience of building pools, as well of course as listening to local users and other stakeholders.
I see this as a good opportunity for the Scrutiny Committee to carry out a serious investigation of the proposal and if at the end of that work we wish to recommend the Council undertakes a formal feasibility study, that decision will at least be based on genuine evidence and serious consideration.
There is still a long way to go if Kettering is to get a new pool but hopefully at least further discussions will be based on the facts as well as independent advice. For too long Kettering has played second fiddle to some of our neighbours and I hope the eventual outcome of all of this will be to get local residents the sort of top class facility they deserve.
Mick Scrimshaw is the Leader of the Labour Group at Kettering Borough Council, the Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance at Northamptonshire County Council. He has a public record of standing up for Kettering as a County Councillor for the Northall division in Kettering, Northants and since May 2015, a Borough Councillor for the William Knibb ward. He is a keen cyclist and also runs a family business with his wife.