Letter writer Ivan Humphrey writes this week to say that Kettering’s pool facilities are proof that the town is the ‘poor relation’ of Northamptonshire...
Firstly, let me apologise for all the water related analogies.
Kettering really is becoming the poor relation of Northamptonshire, especially when it comes to it’s aquatic facilities!
If the reports in The Telegraph are correct, Kettering Borough Council is set to pull the plug on a feasibility study set up to see if a brand new swimming pool should be built in the town.
Instead, they intend to pump more council tax payers money into keeping afloat the existing not fit for purpose facilities on the corner of Bowling Green Road and London Road, which are fast approaching their 40th anniversary, and as things stand, would still involve several more closures of the pool to allow for any essential maintenance to take place.
Meanwhile, Kettering Borough Council, without proper scrutiny, has also decided to splash out £4.3m on purchasing the RCI Offices situated just off Junction 9 of the A14, which will then be leased back to RCI. Money down the drain?
How long will it take in monthly rental payments for the council to recoup £4.3m?
Two, five or even 10 years? Unless, that is, the council has an ulterior motive behind the purchase, and they intend to move from their current offices in Bowling Road to the RCI offices once the lease has expired, leaving their former offices in Bowling Road to be recycled into residential flats for sale to the private sector.
By not investing money into building a modern aquatic facility, isn’t the council also guilty of not seeing the bigger picture?
Not withstanding the revenue from ticket sales and car parking, a new Olympic size swimming pool would literally have people flooding into Kettering’s town centre as those that use the pool would also see it as an excuse to venture out for something to eat and drink, and to do some shopping, thereby providing a welcome tonic for what is left of Kettering’s high street.
It might also go some way to persuading any budding retail entrepreneurs out there to take the plunge and open up a shop in some of the many empty premises in the town centre? Put simply, it really is a case of sink, or swim for Kettering!
Ivan Humphrey, Kettering