Lido campaign making waves

29 June 2012

WITH just under three weeks of the consultation period for the Afan Lido still to go, campaigners have this week stepped up their game, forming a committee and launching a petition.

A show of hands at the public meeting demonstrated strength of feeling for an eight-lane pool. Photo: Susan Plant, www.portstudio.co.uk

A show of hands at the public meeting the demonstrated strength of feeling for an eight-lane pool. Photo: Susan Plant, www.portstudio.co.uk

In a meeting on Wednesday night, the campaigners elected a five-strong committee and decided to continue contacting the press and making their views known to local councillors. They have already had press coverage on ITV Wales, BBC Radio Wales, the South Wales Evening Post and Port Talbot Magnet.

The campaign – which was born on Facebook in the aftermath of the Council’s own public meeting on 20 June and already has more than 2,700 members – has pledged to survey local people and represent their views by launching a petition.

The petition makes 11 demands, including an eight-lane pool, keeping the building on the same site, a practical learner pool, a kiddie’s splash area and slide, an eight court sports hall with two ancillary halls for other sports, aerobic and static weight fitness areas, a suitable outdoor all-purpose facility and spectator accommodation.

It also asks for a health suite for older people, disabled access and a café area.

Though the meeting was at times chaotic, there was a general consensus that an eight-lane swimming pool should be at the heart of any new designs and that getting the rebuild of the Lido right was essential to the future of the town.

“We want to cover what the majority of people in Port Talbot want,” said Gary Owen, who started the Facebook group ‘Port Talbot People Against Inferior Rebuild of Afan Lido’.

Making waves - the campaign committee: left-right Robbie Phillips, Harry Worth, Lorraine Suter Stevenson, Gary Owen, Jamie Hornsey and Diane Thomas. Photo: Susan Plant, www.portstudio.co.uk

Making waves – the campaign committee: left-right Robbie Phillips, Harry Worth, Lorraine Suter Stevenson, Gary Owen, Jamie Hornsey and Diane Thomas. Photo: Susan Plant, www.portstudio.co.uk

David Rees AM was also at the meeting, though he stressed he was there in a personal capacity, and would be making his own views known to the Council through the consultation as well as asking questions in his capacity as an assembly member.

He said: “This meeting tonight and the Facebook group show the strength of feeling of the people. I’m very pleased the Council has extended the consultation period because we need time to have discussions and meetings like this.

“Hopefully there will be transparency in the process,” he added.

Meanwhile, Sandfields West councillors have leafleted hundreds of homes in their ward asking for local views on the Afan Lido scheme, and will be at the Mozart Community Centre on Sunday 8 July between 2-4pm to hear opinions.

The campaigners will host a stall for signing the petition in Aberafan Shopping Centre on Saturday from 10am-4pm. You can also email regeneration@npt.gov.uk or contact your local councillor direct.

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Wayne Morris says:

Why didn’t they just go to this meeting? Our Assembly member and Hywel Francis’s agent were both there. It seems to me they want to say that they are listening but in reality don’t want to be involved with the facebook campaign because it takes the spotlight off them. They are making it political whereas they should not be.