Demolition of Hunstanton open air swimming pool remains a mystery

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The ‘Looking Back’ columns in the Lynn News are always worth reading.

For example, readers were reminded of a fateful decision taken by Hunstanton Urban District Council (HUDC) 50 years ago, which led to the demolition of the open air swimming pool.

In February 1967, HUDC approved a recommendation by an Entertainments Committee that plans for the provision of an indoor swimming pool should be formulated, but councillors decided against giving a fixed date for demolishing the existing outdoor pool.

A decision on an exact date was to be deferred until the October meeting. In the meantime it was agreed to keep the pool open throughout the summer season at a maintenance cost of £756.

Without waiting to see a ‘Looking Back’ in October this year, for the benefit of those too young to remember, it can be revealed that the date chosen for demolition was the day after the October meeting in 1967.

This was a very effective method of stifling the public outcry, which was provoked by the decision to close such a well-used facility, before the proposed indoor swimming pool was even on the drawing board.

Of course, HUDC had plans for a leisure complex, which came to be known as the ‘bubble’, but this was burst by local public opinion and the rest is history.

Turning to the present, there is talk of putting another skateboard ramp on the promenade at the foot of The Green. Clearly, this would be contrary to the ‘Parks for People’ project, intended to celebrate the vision of Henry le Strange, the founder of Hunstanton.

It would also appear to contravene a West Norfolk Council bylaw making it an offence to obstruct the promenade.

The council does not have a very good record when it comes to complying with legally binding covenants affecting The Green, but it is surely unthinkable that its own bylaw should be flouted in such a cavalier fashion.

There is a more suitable location for a skateboard ramp within the Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) on the recreation ground, which was the original site chosen for this facility.

In any case, the bylaw prohibits skateboards from the promenade, along with motor vehicles, cycles, motorcycles, skates, rollerblades, scooters, etc.

Ironically, invalid vehicles are not prohibited, but their safe passage would be made very difficult if a skateboard ramp is once again allowed to obstruct the promenade.

Perhaps this time round the council will respect its own bylaw, or at the very least, allow time for local inhabitants, rather than outside consultants, to put forward alternative sites for skateboarding in Hunstanton. Members of the Coastal Communities Team (CCT) are supposed to be in touch with local public opinion, but the minutes of their meetings, unlike those of the Civic Society and Town Council, do not seem to be readily available.

Just like HUDC of old, there appears to be a tendency for the CCT to make important decisions without first consulting those council tax payers likely to be most affected.