Latest News

The committee are currently updating the business plan in light of the proposed additional new houses to be built in Heathfield and the surrounding villages. Funds in excess of £3.5m are still required to enable building work to start and suitable grant bodies are being researched.  The Heathfield Partnership are always interested to hear from people with relevant fundraising expertise or individuals, charitable trusts or organisations who are interested in contributing to this target.


Something to Say?

Want to ask a question or have something to say? Get in touch using this form...

CAMPAIGN - researching the local needs


Initial research indicated that around 22,000 people live in the catchment area that would be served by the Heathfield Swimming Pool and Fitness Centre. As well as encompassing Heathfield town itself, the area extends from Waldron in the West to Burwash and Etchingham in the East, Mayfield in the North and to Horam and Rushlake Green in the South.

More than 5,000 of those residents (25% of the local population) responded to our petition saying that they would both support, and regularly use, a new pool.

43% of the petition supporters live outside the town of Heathfield.  This is a particularly strong response from the more rural communities in the surrounding villages and is made up of:  20% to the East of the town, 11% to the South, 7% to the West and 5% to the North.

Children and young people of 18 years and under accounted for 33% of the petition, with more than 1,600 names.  Strong support was expected from this age group, bearing in mind the presence of 12 primary schools and the Heathfield Community College in the catchment area.

The support from disabled swimmers proved to be larger than anticipated with some 83 people from across the area putting their names to the petition.

Here are the full results from our petition: 

 


 

  Heathfield, Broad Oak, Cade Street
 

  Punnetts Town, Dallington, Rushlake Green
 

  Horam, Vines Cross, Maynards Green
 

  Burwash, Etchingham, Stonegate
 

  Waldron,
  Cross-in-Hand
 

  Mayfield,
  Five Ashes
 

  Group Totals
 

  Up to
  11 years
 

  579
 

  136
 

  108
 

  94
 

  49
 

  53
 

  1019
 

  11-18
  years
 

  338
 

  64
 

  76
 

  65
 

  46
 

  41
 

  630
 

  19-60
  years
 

  1458
 

  290
 

  260
 

  240
 

  196
 

  120
 

  2564
 

  60
  plus years
 

  423
 

  58
 

  85
 

  58
 

  63
 

  38
 

  725
 

  Disabled
 
 

  55
 

  6
 

  4
 

  6
 

  8
 

  4
 

  83
 

  Area
  Totals
 
 

  2853
 

  554
 

  533
 

  463
 

  362
 

  256
 

  5021
 

  Non-swimmers
 

  137
 

  21
 

  16
 

  3
 

  29
 

  16
 

  222
 

  Overall
  totals
 

  2990
 

  575
 

  549
 

  466
 

  391
 

  272
 

  5243
 



Only 3 of the 11 local primary schools (for whom swimming to a stated standard is a curriculum requirement) continue to run their own pools. Travel to other areas is an expensive and disproportionately time-consuming business. 

The original outdoor pool at Heathfield Community College had been refurbished in the early 1980s by Heathfield and District Swimming Association (HADSA) volunteers and maintained in a joint venture with the Community College until it closed in 2007. This facility provided a valued but very limited service, for four months of each summer, for over 25 years.

There are capacity problems at other pools in the area, particularly for formal lessons. In addition, the housing development now proposed for the District can only make that situation worse. For many parts of the area, the public transport service is quite discouraging and even unaffordable, for swimming visits to other towns. In one instance the journey time proved in excess of 90 minutes each way to reach a pool for a 30-minute swim.

There is a widespread concern about health and physical activity issues. Swimming is the most universal form of exercise, enjoyable from the cradle to the grave and by people of all abilities (or disabilities). It is almost unique in being a family activity, which is not only healthy, but can do much to strengthen family life. Swimming can be an area of accomplishment for those who may not have strengths in other areas.

Further research showed that local residents wanted to use fitness facilities, but were very dissatisfied with the scale of those provided at the Heathfield Leisure Centre. Expert advice also indicated that, whereas pools tend to run at a loss, fitness centres can provide positive income to offset those losses. Because of this it was concluded that the real requirement was for a combined (improved) fitness centre and swimming pool. A Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) has been built at the College, and with the new pool and fitness centre will provide a comprehensive facility and potential additional income.

Independent research conducted by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) in 2009 concluded that the Wealden area lacked one four-lane 25-metre pool by the standards that the Association works to.

When the District leisure plan was formulated in the 1980s and 1990s, Heathfield was a relatively small town and it can be understood why it was not included in the provision for swimming. However, times have changed. Heathfield with its catchment is now much greater. But expectations and health needs have changed as well and it is understandable that the residents of the area feel they are should have local facilities to contemporary standards.