12,000 people used the pool last year in the four short months for which it was open. The council are representing the pool as a burden, but you cannot measure the value of a public asset in pounds and pence. What value can you put on the civic identity of Abingdon, living by the river, playing by the river? What value on the mental and physical wellbeing afforded by splashing about outdoors? What value on the happy memories of days out with the family enjoying the pool, the park, the relaxed atmosphere?
Wallingford, Hinksey, even a small village like Woodstock manage to have outdoor pools, why not a large and growing town like Abingdon. Why do we have to lose our pool? We're set to have new houses built on every margin of the town to add to the 10 years' of in-fill (brewery, penlon, etc). Will Abingdon residents have to get in their cars and travel to access leisure and recreational facilities? Is such a scenario good for Abingdon socially or economically?
This is the last portion of Thames riverside with public recreational access, everything else has been sold off and built on. Can we afford to lose Abbey Meadows by letting the pool be turned into a 'riverside restaurant', only available to those that can afford it? If this happens, we will be paying to bulldoze over a public asset to set up a private commercial business. Another restaurant to add to all those in Abingdon and two new ones in the Old Gaol.
The outdoor pool is part of what makes Abingdon unique. The pool is an asset not a burden and a confident town should invest in the pool and make it as good as Hinksey, Wallingford and even Woodstock. Does Abingdon deserve less? I don't think so. IMPORTANT: Please also go to