I attended the meeting that was held at the Council Offices at Kiln Road on the 3rd February 2010, with 25 Councillors and 17 members of the public concerned about the fate of the Paddling Pool. This is my personal view about what was discussed and what decisions were made.
7.30. The meeting was ‘called in’ to discuss the fate of the paddling pool which has been earmarked for removal on Health and Safety issues.
The meeting discussed the following:
- The Cabinet did not consider the impact to the seafront traders and tourism when making the decision to demolish the tidal pool at Concord beach.
- The Cabinet did not consider the tidal pool offered a safe alternative to young children that swim in the sea.
- The Cabinet did not consider that by demolishing the tidal pool it would encourage young children to be more at risk in the open sea with steep sloping beach and strong currents.
The Council Officers were told the pool provided a ‘safe’ alternative from the open seas with its sloping beach and strong currents. So without the pool children will always ‘go to the water’ encouraging them to go out on the mud flats.
Apparently the costings were done for safety reasons and ¼ Million Pounds had been spent on a second pool. It was stated that Essex has 400 miles of coastline and out of the 120 pools across coastal areas only 23 pools are left, many being dismantled on management issues.
The council had been advised the walls of the pool were decaying and had algae growing on them, with ‘Unrestricted’ access to the pool the council were made responsible for any incidents. (Although none have been reported since the 1930’s) So it was pointed out they were prepared to maintain the new pool. (It was later pointed out how all the children would get into one pool rather than two with unrestricted access)
It was stated that only one trader would suffer, the Concord Café but with the Pool removed there would be more beach area increasing trade…………………………..
It was re-stated that the pool had Health and Safety issues but was told it is a paddling pool not a swimming pool which came under different rules.
Further discussions were to confirm the whole area would be cleared and measures will be taken to ‘STOP’ anyone using the pool before its removal.
- Questions were asked why the 20 or so other businesses were not contacted at all on the matter of removing the pool, it was stated that it would not affect these other traders.
- Questions were asked how the steel plates were tested, were they X-rayed and pressure tested?
- A point was made that these traders should have been told. So they know what was going on.
A council officer was asked if they had indeed contacted the Coastguards for advice being experts in this area.
- NO, was the answer. (there was great concerns from the public area)
The next issue was again mention of the second pool, it was stated that Canvey only had one pool. There seemed to be confusion, on re-stating Canvey had one pool. The public area went into uproar, there had always been two, the meeting was called to order.
It was next stated that with the large port coming on Canvey’s doorstep had consideration been taken for the large bow waves on the new pool as one Councillor had visited the beach and had seen how ‘hard’ these waves hit the beach now, with the smaller boats.
The reply was to seek advice from the environment Agency.
It was next suggested perhaps fence could be erected around the rear and side of the paddling pool to eliminate the Health and Safety issues of the concrete around the pool. So people could not fall off the wall.
The meeting was called to a vote to remove the pool.
- 5 to remove and 2 to leave
The public area was devastated. Lea Swann publically stated’ “but we will lose the sand, the pools holding are it on the beach”, other public cries were heard, “what about the safety of the children? Did you not listen to the Coastguards?”
As the meeting came to a close it was mentioned by Lea Swann “what happened to the 1000 strong petition drawn up over the last four days?” It was apparent it was not presented, where did it go?
The Evening Echo and ‘Talk Talk’ reported the evening, members of Canvey’s Town Council were in attendance.
The Public (mainly from Canvey) left ‘disappointed’ not only with losing an 80 year old Paddling pool, but again how it was done.
A personal view of the demise of the paddling pool we all have fond memories of.