Council gets into deep water over pool plan
Authority accused misleading public with ‘land swap’ scheme for site
CHILTERN District Council (CDC) has been accused of ‘misleading’ the public over its plans to rebuild the ageing Chiltern Pools in Amersham.
But the council has hit back at the criticism and refutes ‘in the strongest possible terms’ any suggestion its redevelopment proposals are ‘seriously flawed’.
CDC launched a public consultation last year outlining its plans to replace the Chiltern Pools and community buildings with a new, purpose-built hub.
The plans included an eight-lane, 25-metre swimming pool, a diving/ teaching pool, a sports hall including four badminton courts, and an events and theatre space.
There were 2,386 responses to the proposals which were overwhelmingly supported by more than 80% of people.
CDC then put forward a revised version to address concerns raised.
These included building the concept on the library and car park areas opposite the council offices and developing a portion of the King George Playing field.
In return CDC have promised to protect ‘in perpetuity’ the green area in the middle of Woodside Close and develop more green space near the barn buildings.
The green in Woodside Close would be transferred to Amersham Town Council through Fields in Trust, a charity which protects open spaces by having a veto over future development on that land.
But Patrick Carroll, of Chiltern Avenue said: “[CDC] is attempting to mislead the public, this time with the ridiculous idea of a ‘land swap’ to make the new plans work, whereas in fact, there is no ‘swap’ involved at all, just a complete loss of ex- isting open green space and children’s play facilities.”
CDC said: “We refute in the strongest terms any suggestion our plans are ‘seriously flawed’ and ‘misleading the public’.
“CDC is currently undertaking a consultation on the potential land swap in Amersham which is needed before we can progress the proposals to redevelop the Chiltern Pools site.
“This is a formal, legal process and no decision has or will be made until the consultation responses have been received and then shared with the Fields in Trust (FIT), a public body whose key aim is to protect public open space.
“Only once the FIT’s approval has been received can CDC submit a formal ageing planning application.”
Details of the consultation have been sent to residents and there is an exhibition in the CDC council offices, King George V Road on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 19 and 20 from 5pm to 9pm.
Visit www.chiltern.gov. uk/landswap. The consultation runs from until October 2.