I SHOULD like to respond to the letter from Stuart Marshall of Poole (Daily Echo, June 25) calling for a swimming pool at Bournemouth’s Waterfront.

As most people know, the council’s long term vision for this site, together with adjacent land through to the Pavilion, is to establish a landmark cultural quarter overlooking the seafront.

This will include a mixture of new cultural attractions, ambitious public space improvements and replacement car parking.

We are at an early stage in developing this vision in partnership with the Bournemouth Development Company and architects Zaha Hadid. This will be an ambitious scheme which will rely heavily on favourable investment conditions, securing the right cultural partners and the determination to see it through. Understandably this will take time to deliver, perhaps 5 to 10 years, but in the shorter term we have a responsibility to provide a high quality visitor experience on the Waterfront site, whilst maximising revenue to contribute towards services for the residents of Bournemouth.

The council has begun improving the area with significant investment in public realm around Pier Approach over the last three years, most recently with support from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund to complete this part of the development. The following stage is an attraction for just the next few years with high quality themed adventure golf drawing on local history and designed specifically for this location. The scheme is projected to generate significant new financial returns from year one, whilst providing a fun visitor attraction that will appeal to all ages.

Mr Marshall calls for investment in a new 50 metre public swimming pool for the site instead. Whilst I am not sure that a heavily subsidised Olympic pool is exactly what the average swimmer is looking for on the seafront, readers will recall that previous pools on this site and nearby in the BIC both closed needing a high level of permanent subsidy from council taxpayers. Given the longer term ambitions for the wider site, this is not something that the council should be contemplating and is why instead we have invested so heavily in Bournemouth’s swimming pools at Littledown, Pelhams, Stokewood and Queen's Park to the benefit of all local residents.


Leader of Bournemouth council,

Bournemouth Town Hall