FACTS ABOUT THE PROPOSED REDEVELOPMENT

Here you can download a list of facts and points which relate to the Council's plans to demolish Victoria Leisure Centre, which you may find useful when compiling your letter to the council or preparing your arguments for when you meet councillors face-to-face.

Facts About The Proposed Closure and Demolition of Victoria Leisure Centre >



REFERENCE DOCUMENTS

Detailed Analysis & Critique Of Council's New Design Plans March 2010 >
Social Heritage Documentation March 2010 >
Chronology of the Campaign to Save Victoria Baths February 2008 - March 2009 >
The Victoria Leisure Refurbished - a Vision (based on Option A designs) >
Feasibility Study of The Options for the Development of Victoria Leisure Centre, Spencer Guy Architects >
Summary of Public Consultation on Design Options Conducted by Nottingham City Council >
Public Responses to Design Options as Canvassed by Save Victoria Baths >
Follow Up Consultation Into TANC Findings 1 November 2008 >
Sneinton Market & Eastside Gateway Neighbourhood Development Plan, Gehl Architects > (PDF 74.7 MB)
The Future of Victoria Baths Survey, Tanc & Save Victoria Baths campaign group > (PDF 0.5 MB)
Tell Us Your Views survey, Nottingham City Council > (Word Doc 0.3 MB)
Victoria Baths - Brief Development, Save Victoria Baths campaign group > (PDF 6.3 MB)
Sneinton Market Conservation Area, Nottingham Civic Society > (PDF 0.1 MB)
English Heritage (Listing) Advisor's Report, English Heritage > (PDF 2.1 MB)
Making a Splash: The National Pool Campaigners' Conference Report, The Victorian Society > (PDF 1.0 MB)
Sports and Leisure: Introducing Energy Saving Opportunities for Business, The Carbon Trust > (PDF 0.5 MB)
Swimming Pools: A Deeper Look at Energy Efficiency, The Carbon Trust > (PDF 0.7 MB)
Results of our November 2008 consultation > (Word Doc 0.1 MB)



FLYERS, POSTERS, STICKERS AND LOGOS


You can download stickers advertising the campaign. These are specially set up to be printed on the 63.5mm x 46.6mm sticker sheets (18 per sheet) available from Staples. These are available for both InkJet and LaserJet printers and are £8.99 for two packs of 40 sheets. If you have access to a LaserJet printer your stickers will not run in the rain. InkJet printed stickers are suitable for indoor use. Stick them everywhere!

You can also download the campaign logo and make your own posters, banners, t-shirts or whatever else.

Download A4 sticker sheet with campaign logo / website address only >
Download JPEG Save Victoria Baths campaign logo >
Downlaod EPS Save Victoria Baths campaign logo >



PHOTOS

View photos of the Consultaton Shop in Sneinton Market 1 November 2008 >
View photos of the FREE FUN DAY in Sneinton Market on 31 May 2008 >
View photos of the public demonstration in Market Square on 18 March 2008 >
View photos of the Save Victoria Baths Sports Relief team on 16 March 2008 >
View photos of the public meeting held at Victoria Leisure Centre on 1 March 2008 >
View photos of Victoria Leisure Centre 13 February 2008 >





COMMENTS

Below are some comments from Leisure Centre users and people campaigning to save the baths. You might find these useful when composing your letter to the council or when reminiscing about the good ol' days.


"No amount of academic qualifications will do you any good if you fall in water and can't swim and no amount of muscles from other sports will stop you drowning if you can't swim"

Royal Life Saving Society Nottinghamshire Branch


"We have used the Victoria Leisure centre to run Pain Management Programmes for the last 6 years and treated over 300 patients there. Many people completing the course continue to use the facilities as we promote graded return to activity and exercise. The majority of people attending the courses lives within the St Ann's / Sneinton area and are able to walk to the venue or take a short bus ride. Our Team is now faced with finding a new location (there is no suitable alternative in the city centre) and our patients in that area will have to travel further. This is often a barrier to attendance."

Nottingham Back and Pain Management Team


"Although I now live in Lincoln, I was born at 10 Ritson Terrace 51 years ago. My grandparents and afterwards my parents lived at No. 1 Campbell Grove, then trading as a fruit and vegetable shop, before my parents, brother and myself moved out to Clifton Estate. Even after moving from the area, Victoria Baths was of great importance to us all. One of my earliest memories after moving was being at my grandparents house, by this time 14 Campbell Grove, on a Monday evening eagerly awaiting the end of Popeye on the television which meant it was then time to go swimming with my uncles, aunts, cousins and many more! I was about 3-4 years old, couldn’t swim a stroke, but with armbands and a rubber ring, my uncles used to throw me about between themselves, dunking me under the water which although took my breath made me so confident I soon became such a strong swimmer that during school holidays I would spend many happy hours visiting the “Vic baths” on my own whilst staying with my godparents back at Ritson Terrace. Clifton was at that time “posh”, but it hadn’t got a swimming pool! After having children of my own, we often visited the baths as a family, not always for the swimming but also for the wrestling. We came several times to watch “Big Daddy” get the better of “Giant Haystacks”. My grandparents were Thomas (Tom) and Ada Matthews, they had 7 children, Thomas (Tom), Alan, Hilda, Dorothy, Stanley, Joan, Patricia (Pam). My mum is Joan, sadly now only she and Stanley are surviving members of this family, but if any of your campaigners remember the Matthew's family they can contact me and we can certainly join forces to help in your quest, if not I alone will be happy to do what I can. Many thanks for taking the time to read this, please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of further help."

Lorraine Clark


(to the tune of God Save the Queen)

God save Victoria Baths,
Long live these noble Baths,
God save the Baths.
Send us the cash we need,
To stop them going to seed,
Or to the developers' greed,
God save the Baths.

Many's the merry laughs,
Laughed in the Turkish Baths,
May they remain.
Turkish Baths are so rare,
These are beyond compare.
If they go, I'll despair,
May they remain.

People from poorer parts,
Hold the Baths in their hearts,
Save them, I pray.
They help to keep us fit,
Active and trim with it,
Don't drop us in the sh*t -
Let the Baths stay.

M Nash, New Basford (Nottingham Evening Post 16 February 2008)


"I do not have a car (for financial and environmental reasons), and I would never choose to spend additional time sitting on a bus in favour of walking to a local leisure facility. For me, and all the VLC users I have spoken to, a convenient facility is far more important than this 'better quality' facility the council keeps speaking of. In an attempt to cut down the amount of traffic on the roads and the pollution that this causes, the council should be actively encouraging people not to travel unnecessarily rather than doing the opposite.

In addition to this, swimming is the best all over exercise that there is. It is a common fact that it exercises more muscles in the body than any other, without damaging joints through impact (like most 'dry activities' can). It should be the role of the council to recognise this fact and to be actively promoting swimming to residents. In an area as poor as St Ann's the council should be doing everything possible to encourage healthy lifestyles and combat childhood obesity, not removing the only easily accessible public facility they have access to. So much for the Olympics having a positive impact on sports in this country!"

Ellie Harrison


"How much would a new pool cost and how well built would it be compared to a solid Victorian building? The carbon costs of knocking down and rebuilding are massive!

In the midlands it always used to be well known by emergency sevices that many people drowned in hot weather because they hadn't had the swimming practice of seaside communities."

Johnny, Industrial Workers of World & Green Party


Letter to members of the Executive Board:

"I am writing to state my objection to the planned closure of the Victoria Leisure Centre, and also to express the view that the short and superficial nature of the consultation period seems intended to rule out any meaningful discussion of other options. It is my opinion that this demonstrates a massive lack of ambition and imagination on behalf of the City Council, with regard to a facility that could become a unique and successful feature of the EastSide regeneration efforts. As a regular user of the centre, the closure also represents a blow to me personally, as well as being a betrayal of the people of Sneinton and St. Anns.

The Victoria Leisure Centre is a vital local resource for the people of Sneinton and St. Anns. I have lived in both of these areas for 6 of the last 8 years and am highly aware of the health problems associated with lack of exercise that blight this part of the city. This personal experience is backed up by health reports that demonstrate lower life expectancies and health problems in these areas. In the face of these significant health concerns, the argument that not enough people are currently making use of the centre totally misses the bigger picture. The Victoria Leisure Centre is in exactly the right place to benefit these people and reduce these heath concerns. Surely the best strategy for tackling such problems is to work from what is already locally available? I can feel confident in saying that: if the people of Sneinton and St. Anns do not currently make enough use of the facilities available at the Victoria Leisure Centre then it is absurd to think they will easily be encouraged to use facilities further away. Regular exercise and healthy living are habits that must be practiced and, unfortunately, are habits that can easily be lost if the facilities to practice them are removed without suitable replacement.

There is a shocking lack of imagination and ambition at the heart of the decision to close the centre - ironic given the council's claim to be ‘ambitious’ for the people of Nottingham. The EastSide regeneration developments represent a major opportunity for the centre to become a successful and distinctive feature of Sneinton market area. I put it to you that the current under-use of the centre is a direct reflection of a lack of investment (and therefore deterioration of facilities) in the centre itself, and of the surrounding areas’ direct need of regeneration. In the context of a regenerated Sneinton Market - and with the benefit of some 'joined up' thinking - the centre could become a well-used facility; something the area could feel great pride about. Also, historically speaking, major regeneration efforts have been blighted by the negative effects of stripping out the ‘social heart’ of an area, with many such efforts being disastrous as a result. The historical continuity, and the community nature, of a Victoria Leisure Centre at the heart of the proposed regeneration would greatly reduce such a danger.

It is my challenge to you that the consultation period and the decision to close the centre are inadequate and unduly rushed. If the case for the closure is really as strong as the City Council would like people to believe, then why rush through a decision and face the negative public reaction this is already generating? I believe that a genuinely consultative process, together with a fair exploration of the possibility of other options, will reach the best possible solution to the problem.  As a side point - and contrary to the claims on the official council publicity - many people with disabilities regularly enjoy the use of the Victoria Leisure Centre. I have spoken to wheelchair users who have told me that they are fully able to access both pools, and even the upstairs areas when a side door is opened. They do not consider the centre to have serious accessibility issues and would be in a much worse position should it close. In addition - even if there were accessibility issues - there is nothing in any government disability discrimination legislation to say that a facility should be closed to all on the basis of any inaccessible to a small number.

Any decision to close the centre without proper consideration of the alternatives is a flawed decision. Principally, the option of exploring the running of the centre as an independent 'social enterprise' - as is seeing success at the The Lenton Centre - has not been explored. The hasty closure decision, and inadequate consultation period, is currently ruling out this potentially successful option before its basic feasibility can even be explored. A social enterprise of this sort would relieve the City Council of the costs associated with keeping the centre open and would put it into the hands of the community it serves - where it will be eligible for a variety of major funding streams not available to the council itself. As with The Lenton Centre, a clause could be inserted preventing the site being sold on. And, if the centre were to fail as a social enterprise, the land would revert to the council for other use (and given the redevelopment of the area will surely only have gone up in value in the meantime). I cannot see a good reason for not at least exploring this option. To do so would be to be seen as listening to the people of Nottingham.

I call for an extended and sufficient consultation period, during which all possible options for the centre’s future can be fully and fairly considered. In addition, I would argue that under no circumstances should the centre close until the east of the city has been provided with adequate replacement facilities."

Jonathan Waring


"I am a wheelchair user who uses the Victoria Leisure Centre pool 5-6 times per week. In my opinion the pool has good access for disabled people e.g. ramp access to front boor; low level reception; light (easy to open) & wide doors; ramp access to main pool; flat access to small pool; main pool side disabled shower / changing room & separate toilet; hoist access to both pools; even the ladies changing rooms wide enough for wheelchair manoeuvrability.

I have found the staff to be extremely helpful & considerate in providing me with assistance & often without me having to ask. It is rare to find this sort of intuitive behaviour.

I understand that the Disability Discrimination Act requires ‘reasonable adjustment’. I do not see closure, decommissioning & demolition as ‘reasonable adjustment’. ‘Reasonable adjustment’ is things like keeping the hoist in working (recently out of order for more than a month).

If this facility is closed my mobility, physical & mental health will suffer. I do not expect to be able to access an alternative facility. Just because I have MS doesn’t make me immune from other health problems. I’m doing my best to avoid other diseases like coronary heart disease, diabetes, obesity, mental health problems, etc.

The current trend, supported by the NHS, encourages people with chronic health conditions to ‘self manage’ their health. An essential part of self management is to exercise within ones own personal limitations. Swimming is my only significant exercise.

According to the World Health Organisation health is defined as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’.

I currently consider myself as a person with a long term health condition who self manages well to maintain a reasonable state of health. Without the ability to swim daily I will become a depressed, housebound person who will require significantly more social care."

Alison Howe




Artist Jon Burgerman is backing the campaign


"The Victoria Baths in Nottingham is undoubtedly of architectural and historic interest, and is a significant feature in the Sneinton Market Conservation Area. However, the significance of the building lies not only in its attractive architecture, but also in it being an important community building for which there is enormous public support.

Historic pools are a great example of ordinary working heritage that most people understand and value. They are a great resource at the heart of communities, can encourage social cohesion and health, and many people prefer to swim in them. The Save Victoria Baths campaign is evidence of the strength of local feeling for this building.

We share the concerns expressed by the local community and hope that your Council will make every effort to protect this building as a working swimming pool and as a valued part of the area’s history."

Alex Baldwin, Conservation Adviser, The Victorian Society


"Under Section 53 the General Inclosures Act of 1845 the City authorities were empowered to appropriate, from certain specified lands allocated, up to 5 acres “for the purpose of forming, and shall make and form thereon public baths... for the use of the inhabitants of the said town of Nottingham forever”. We believe that the Victoria Baths are sited on some of these lands and if current proposals are implemented these baths will be closed and demolished. If this takes place, we consider that the Council will be in breach of its legal responsibilities, as laid down by Parliament."

Leo Keely


Tim Desmond Chair of Nottingham Speakers’ Corner Founding Committee is backing the campaign
Download Tim's short monologue about Victoria Baths >


Royal Navy Mayday Save Victoria Baths >


Poem for Jon Collins

Thanks for me pocket money Dad
Me and Jack are gonna buy Lucozade Sport
When we’ve been for a swim in Victoria Baths

Thanks for me pocket money Dad
We didn’t buy Lucozade Sport
Cos they’ve closed the pool down
So we went down town, hung around
With some big lads, one of them punched Jack
But I didn’t fight back I was scared
They’d beat me up too.

Thanks for me pocket money Dad
The big lads said if I bought them some fags
They’d show me their den. Jack can’t come
You’ve gotta be at least ten cos
There’s these men will let you sniff glue
And drink booze and I don’t want him
Snitching to Mum and you.

Thanks for me pocket money Dad
Save it for me for when I get out
I’m sorry Jack got shot-
Please don’t let them turn that machine off
Until I get out of prison and get chance
To say I remember those days:
Two Brothers going swimming.

Simon Buttenshaw


Letter to members of the Executive Board:

"I am writing to express my dismay at the proposed closure of the Victoria Baths in Sneinton. There are many reasons why I believe you should not go ahead with this proposal.

The swimming pool and leisure facilities serve two very large and predominantly poor communities of St Anns and Sneinton (not to mention the city centre, but I'll come to that later). You suggest that, should the closure go ahead, financial help will be given to help people get to alternative centres such as Portland, in the Meadows. At a community meeting held at Bluebell Hill Community Centre on 19th February attended by your fellow councillor Dave Liversidge, the point was made that young people in both St Anns and the Meadows are very territorial and the chances of a young person from St Anns going to use Portland are very slim indeed. Both the Police Officer and the Community Support Officer present at the meeting agreed that this was the case. So, the reality for young people in St Anns would be that they would no longer have access to a swimming pool and the adjacent leisure facilities. If we are serious about the need to get children active and engaged in sport and fitness activities, this would be a disaster. Also I wonder how willing people in general will be to travel further afield to swim, or go to the gym, or play badminton etc. Sad though it is, it seems more likely to me that a large proportion will just stop going. Tony Blair said, in a letter to Patricia Hewitt in May 2006, "We need to create an environment that makes it easier for more people to make more healthy choices." I think this is a case in point.

In a report on 'Reaching the Key Stage 2 Standard in Swimming' in the West Midlands, Nov 2007, Miriam Rosen, Ofsted's Director of Education said: "Pupils are recognising the importance of swimming as a life skill which will help them to enjoy life, be healthy and stay safe, particularly in cases of emergency... however, more needs to be done to address the barriers that prevent all pupils participating in swimming activities in order to build self-esteem, keep fit and healthy and to meet swimming standards..." I believe there are around a dozen schools who use Victoria Baths for swimming lessons. Where are these children going to go if the baths are closed? Do any of the other public pools in the city have space in their timetables to fit additional classes in? And even if they do, will schools be able to factor in the extra time needed for travel to a more distant pool, not to mention the extra cost of transport? If the answer to any of these questions is 'no', then the council will be failing in it's duty to provide an important life skill to the city's children.

There are also several swimming clubs who use the main pool at Victoria, some of which are training Olympic hopefuls. While it is not the full 50mtrs of an Olympic pool, Victoria's 33mtrs is a much more suitable length for training than some of the other public pools in Nottingham. And again there is the issue of whether other pools have the capacity to incorporate these clubs into their presumably already busy timetables.

At the council meeting on 19th February, a figure of £800,000 was quoted as having been spent on upkeep of the baths over the last five years. The implication was that similar amounts could be expected to be spent over the same time period in the future. On the contrary it seems most likely that the majority of the stated £800,000 has been spent on substantial repairs that will last for a long time to come. For instance: I understand the whole pool plant room has been replaced within the last five years - with an expected working life of twenty years - and new piping installed throughout the building. New showers have been installed in the changing rooms. New disabled changing rooms, toilets and showers have been fitted on the poolside. There has been major re-organisation of the reception, staff room, offices and foyer area. If you were to go ahead and close the centre all this investment would be money unnecessarily wasted.

Continuing on the subject of money. On the customer feedback form about the proposed closure, you state that it would cost £1.3million for basic repairs and maintenance works. You go on to say that it would cost over £10million to ensure it meets 'modern standards'. This is very disingenuous. It may cost in excess of £10million to demolish and rebuild a new centre from scratch but that goes way beyond what is necessary to bring the centre up to acceptable modern standards. I would also like to know which aspects of the Disability Discrimination Act are being contravened in the centre. As far as I am aware there is disabled access to both pools, including a hoist for lowering disabled swimmers into the water, there are specific disabled-friendly changing facilities on the main poolside. The sports hall is accessible, as is the gym. I'm sure improvements could be made but you surely don't need to knock the whole building down to make them!

There are so many good things about Victoria Baths. Apart from the usual sports facilities there is the unique and absurdly under-promoted Turkish Baths. When I first moved to Nottingham, the Turkish Baths were amazing: you were given a bathrobe and towels, there was a cafe and a masseur on site, most, if not all of the sessions were single sex and the place was packed! The ordinary people of Nottingham got a first class service in a facility unique to only a handful of British Cities. Then over the years, the cafe closed, the bathrobes and towels disappeared, as did the masseur and the fantastic plunge pool, the sessions became predominantly mixed and custom fell away. What was the council thinking of? In Harrogate the Turkish Baths are the pride of the city. Where does everyone go when visiting Harrogate? The Turkish Baths and Betty's Tea Shop. If we properly repaired and smartened up our Turkish Baths, brought back the robes and towels and the masseurs and the cafe, and then publicised it to all the city's residents and in our tourist brochures, I'm sure the place would be thriving again in no time at all.

I think the centre is generally under-promoted. Victoria is the closest public leisure centre to the city centre. It has excellent transport links. There is a large student community on its doorstep. With the right time-tabling of public swimming sessions and classes I'm sure more people could be attracted in to use the facilities. There are many rooms and spaces that are either under-used or not used at all. Many areas of the building have been allowed to fall into disrepair. I'm sure that, with a bit of thought and imagination alongside consultation with current and potential users of the centre the council could expand what is already a much-used and much-loved leisure centre into a thriving community resource.

The Council is promoting 'Pride', 'Ambition' and 'Respect' in Nottingham. Victoria Baths were the first public baths to be opened in the city. Let's take pride in our history. Let's value and make the most of what we have already got and respect the needs and aspirations of the people of St Anns and Sneinton."

Ruth Dawes


"A big thank you to everyone involved in the Save Victoria Baths campaign. As a resident of Sneinton I am strongly opposed to the closure proposal and would have found it difficult to know where to begin voicing my opposition without the vital information and coordination which the campaign has provided so far. The demos have been very positive and encouraging and Mat's input at the public meeting was BRILLIANT! He came across as by far the most coherant and informed person on the panel. Keep up the good work. I believe that together we can defeat this shortsighted and careless proposal.

Sally Rootham


"A map of the Nottingham City area can be split pretty much east and west by drawing a vertical line right through Noel Street Leisure Centre. To the west of this line, there are 6 pools - Ken Martin, Southglade, Harvey Hadden, Beechdale, John Carroll and Clifton. To the East, not including Victoria, there is just one - Portland. Whoever is in charge of this distribution needs to be handed a map (if not the sack!) We should be campaigning for more pools on the east side of the city, not less!

In addition, the most recent Indices of Multiple Deprivation - looking at income, crime, employment, health etc, show that of Nottingham City’s 20 wards, the areas within St Ann’s Ward has the second lowest average rank (only Aspley being more deprived). St Ann’s is also placed in the top 6% of the most deprived areas of England and Wales."

Simon Buttenshaw




Artist Simon Mitchell is backing the campaign