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Rethink swim decision
10:20am Wednesday 13th June 2012 in Letters
It seems to me that the Ministry of Defence has it very wrong in withdrawing public access to the Bicester Garrison swimming pool in Ambrosden (Oxford Mail, May 31).
The MoD has stated that the increase in the number of troops relocating to Oxfordshire will result in the pool time available for public use being reallocated.
Perhaps they can tell us where all these troops and their families will be accommodated?
I would be interested to know if the MoD is prepared to reveal figures of the military use of the pool on a weekly basis.
I would suggest that any swimming training (assuming that the PT staff have properly qualified swimming teachers) is a very low priority in any training officer’s programme.
At present I would imagine it is difficult to fit in basic and operational fitness testing, let alone a swimming test.
Even if the military were to use the pool every day, the use would, I am sure, because of work and other commitments, be restricted to the daytime.
The pool time taken up by civilian schools and clubs is in the late afternoon or evening.
With the expansion of Bicester and surrounding areas, there is a real need for children to be taught swimming, as the waiting lists and popularity of the private swimming schools quite clearly show, which also produce an income of some £50,000 a year for the MoD.
One solution, of course, would be for the MoD to sell the pool to a private concern and then ‘buy back’ pool time as necessary, thus saving the running costs.
I urge the MoD to think again, to look at the military use for the pool and hope they are able to publish honest figures, unless, of course, this has been a bureaucratic decision because the administration has become too tedious to the Civil Service.
J EVANS Tangmere Close Bicester
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