Petition details


Extend the opening times of Banbury Outdoor Pool (Woodgreen Leisure Centre)

We the undersigned petition the council to keep the Banbury Outdoor Pool open from the beginning of April until the end of October.

The Banbury Outdoor Pool is currently typically open approximately 4 months per year (late May-mid-September). We would like it to be open from the beginning of April until the end of October. There are several factors which justify this request:
There is a clear demand for swimming throughout the year among the pool users, and extending the opening hours could be the best way to assess the feasibility of such a project. If at present the heating of the pool poses insurmountable challenges, in the first and the last month of the season, the water temperature could be lower with optional wetsuit use. Even if the water temperature is lower in the first and the last month, most swimmers would still prefer the outdoor pool to a long drive to an equally cold river.
In the 1970s, the pool used to open in April, and though then the water was much colder, a large number of people used the pool on a regular basis.[1] In the last few years, there has been a renewed interest in open water swimming.[2] When the Banbury outdoor pool is closed, many people make the journey to the rivers in Stratford and Oxford to swim but this is not a solution for everybody, and swimming in a river can prove dangerous at times (for instance during flooding).
Health benefits: Swimming has great health benefits both physical and mental. It builds endurance and muscle strength, gives cardiovascular fitness; it helps to maintain a healthy weight; and it provides an all-over workout. It is especially important for people who cannot do other exercises due to certain health conditions or injuries. Swimming also has an important role in tackling obesity.[3] Apart from these physical health benefits, swimming alleviates stress and helps fighting depression and dementia.[4]
The danger of spreading the virus COVID19 outdoors is much less than indoors, and therefore an outdoor pool gives the opportunity to swim to many people who would not feel comfortable to go to an indoor pool. This outdoor pool gives the opportunity to people to exercise in the fresh air.
Community: the pool is an important centre for communal activities. In September, some swimming lessons were moved from Spiceball Leisure Centre to Woodgreen Leisure Centre, because there wasn't room at the indoor pool for all the lessons while preserving social distancing. Apart from a safer environment, an additional advantage of this change was that the children could hear the instructor clearer without the background noise of an indoor pool. The proposed extension in opening times would result in the pool being available for swimming lessons for a larger proportion of the school year. The extended opening hours could be of interest not only to swimmers but to local or regional sport clubs, such as canoe, triathlon and diving clubs. Some such clubs already do use the pool and maybe interested in using it for more of the year. These activities would provide an additional income stream for the pool.
Changing climate: due to the warming climate, spring starts earlier and the warm weather lasts longer, which creates a much longer window and increases the demand for outdoor activities.[5]
Tourist attraction: This 50m open air pool is an underexploited asset with regional significance. There are few such pools of this size in Britain, so this one has the potential to attract people to the town.
Employment: the extended opening hours would have to potential to create jobs for local people.

[1]Information is from Anne and Chris Jones, who have been living in Banbury since 1972.
[2]https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/oct/24/cold-comfort-uk-outdoor-swimming-venues-stay-open-to-meet-demand
[3]https://www.swimming.org/swimengland/swimming-can-help-obesity-strategy/
[4]https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/swimming-for-fitness/
[5]https://www.swimming.org/swimengland/positive-impacts-swimming-people-living-dementia/

Started by: Zsofia Buda

This Petition ran from 21/11/2020 to 13/01/2021 and has now finished.

316 people signed this Petition.