The ‘West End Extra’ reports;
“PRIMARY school headteachers have spoken out against plans to bulldoze a popular sports centre in Queen’s Park and said it will cause swimming lessons to be cancelled.
The Jubilee Centre, which hosts a 25-metre pool in Caird Street, is to be demolished to make way for luxury homes that will finance a new facility in Kilburn Lane.
But heads at three schools, whose pupils currently walk to the swimming pool for regular lessons, said the new pool at the Moberly Sports Centre will be too far for them to travel with groups of young children.
They also raised concerns about the impact of stripping sports facilities from a part of Westminster that is recognised as being one of the “most deprived and overcrowded”.
Sam Adcock, head at St Peter’s Primary, Chippenham Mews, said: “I think it is terrible and it will have a huge impact on my school. First we will no longer be able to go swimming as there will not be a public pool close enough for our children to walk to. It already takes half an hour to get to the Jubilee centre by the time you take young children and cross roads. It would not be feasible for us to use the Moberly centre that they are proposing.” She added: “Secondly, I am very angry that the council are taking away sports facilities in the local area. Our children live in one of the most deprived and overcrowded areas and they need to be able to play sport and exercise.”
Barbara Mayne, the former head of Queen’s Park Primary, said in 2012 that the new pool “…will be too far from us and we will not be able to go as it will cut out too much learning time. Children who are allowed to go and swim on their own or with friends will not be allowed to, as Moberly is too far from where they live.”
She said: “We want to keep our local facilities and see them better used within the school day, at an affordable rate. It is a community asset and must remain so.”
Responding to a question from the Save the Jubilee Campaign, Barbara Dunn, head of St Luke’s Primary in Fernhead Road, said: “Going to Moberly will require a longer walk or a bus ride, which will then impinge on the already tight curriculum time.”
She would like to see the Jubilee “as a fully refurbished sports centre that would ensure that provisions are within walking distance to where they live”, adding: “a large majority of our children live in the local area often in overcrowded homes”.
Westminster councillor Steve Summers, cabinet member for the community, said: “We have consulted extensively with the local community on the plans, including each of the schools in the area, all of whom were supportive of the plans, particularly the new teaching pool with moveable floor that will be on offer at the Moberly site. We are also looking at how we can work with local schools to make sure they can make the most of the facilities on offer and will continue talks with schools if planning permission is granted.”
The latest videos from the Save the Jubilee campaign have been released;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzaxsP0gh08 Interview with Angela Singhate
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z40c0w9CER4 Interview with Karen Buck MP