And so it begins

Cornwall County Council is about to decide whether or not it can continue to fund two fantastic outdoor swimming facilities in its care. That they should threaten the Jubilee Pool is bad enough – but that’s a listed structure with a big group of users ready to lobby on its behalf.

No, the one that worries me far more is the Bude sea pool, a wonderful tidal pool up on the north coast. Luckily the town has risen magnificently to the challenge and is putting the council under great pressure to secure the pool’s future for both the local community and for visitors like me. Decision day is November 30.

Here’s the lobbying email I wrote today:

Dear councillors –

I’m writing to ask you to please work as hard as you can to secure the future of Cornwall’s historic lidos – the Jubilee Pool in Penzance but also the lesser-known but equally important sea pool in Bude.

I’m not a resident of Cornwall but I visit the county at least once a year – it is my first choice of UK holiday destination. I recognise that your first duty will always be to provide services to county residents and not to visitors like me, however regularly we come. However, I think it’s also worth pointing out that these pools represent part of a national heritage of outdoor swimming venues that has been sorely reduced in recent years, that is often in poor repair and that is constantly under threat in one place or another.

Please do what you can to help take care of the part of that heritage that comes under your remit.

And you don’t need me to point out that they are fantastic visitor attractions. I was planning to visit both Bude and Penzance (and also other towns in the south-west like Plymouth and Ilfracombe) in 2011 specifically to swim in various lidos and outdoor pools. This is tourist income that comes to the county as a direct result of investment in these pools – and, judging by the growing demand for outdoor swimming and the mild climate that Cornwall enjoys, I would be far from the only one planning such a visit.

I hope that you will be willing to work with the communities of Penzance and Bude to find solutions that keep both pools open – it certainly appears that both pools are attracting very strong local support, as befits such wonderful facilities. I also hope that county residents, and the thousands of visitors like me who enjoy outdoor swimming and the wonderful opportunities that Cornwall offers for that pastime, will be able to come to Bude and Penzance next summer in order to use these two important pools.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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