Shoalstone Revival – results of consultation

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Those of you following this blog or our Facebook or Twitter feeds will be aware that we came up with some ideas to develop the pool, in order to keep it open and build a repair fund. Over the Spring and Summer we conducted three face to face public meetings (one attached to a Brixham Town Council meeting); an on-line survey; a youth evening and random poolside surveys while it was lifeguarded.

The Shoalstone CIC will consider these figures and respond to a host of other comments and ideas, but in the meantime we’re sharing the numbers.

We had around 100 visits to our face to face events and 55 people completed the on-line survey. In total 134 people filled in a feedback form.

The types of people responding broke down like this (all % are rounded) –

Men 45%, Women 55%

Under 18 20%; 18-24 7%; 25-34 7%; 35-44 10%; 45-54 14%; 55-64 24%; 65+ 18%

Have a disability? 12%

TQ postcode 84%; Visitor 16%

 

Responses to questions

Strongly Agree and Agree; and Strongly Disagree and Disagree are combined. I’ve omitted the neutrals, but know that you can work that out!

Day or weekly Beach Hut hire – Agree 72% Disagree 5%

Overnight Beach Huts – Agree 54% Disagree 29%

Extend restaurant – Agree 65% Disagree 14%

Create a small kiosk – Agree 59% Disagree 24%

Kayak/SUP etc hire space – Agree 79% Disagree 8%

Outdoor cinema (occasional) – Agree 69% Disagree 19%

Use overflow car park – Agree 84% Disagree 0%

Poolside hot tubs/Sauna – Agree 71% Disagree 16%

Natural Playground – Agree 76% Disagree 15%

Changing rooms – Agree 87% Disagree 6%

Accessibility improvements – Agree 76% Disagree 3%

Youth provision – Agree 81% Disagree 3%

 

A word of caution

Before the nay-sayers or the yay-sayers get too excited by these results, remember that Shoalstone CIC was testing ideas. And it has yet to come back on a range of commentary…and they have to get funding to develop the ideas to something workable…and then get the money to do the work. And at the same time keep you informed and consulted as they go along. But as the person doing the analysis (I am a volunteer), it struck me that, generally, people are keen to see the pool generate more income, but not at the expense of what they see as the aesthetic of the place. And this is a very personal thing.

Let’s take green space. Several commentators said they loved the ‘natural’ green space. Those of you with longer memories than I, will remember when the green space had a putting green on it. And those of you with an ecological bent will no doubt say that there is very little natural about a lawn. And the one person who said, “children don’t use the playgrounds and activities we already have in Brixham” is, I believe, deeply misinformed.

The visuals were developed by Kay Elliot, who were paid for some initial work and then donated their labour for free. And the consultation events, on-line survey and processing of results were done, for free, by the Board of Shaolstone Pool CIC and several of its many volunteers.

More to follow in the next few months

It’s your pool – come and have your say!

For over ninety years, children and young people in Brixham have whiled away the summer in Shoalstone Pool. Free to use, with decks to lounge on and fifty metres of clean seawater to enjoy: it’s no surprise that it’s a favourite spot whenever the sun begins to shine!

Now, though, we are facing challenges like never before.

Torbay Council stopped funding the pool several years ago, and it is now run by volunteers – supported by our new caretaker and brilliant lifeguard team. We all work extremely hard to find the money to keep the pool open and safe, and we have begun to think about increasingly adventurous ways to do that.

Our main worry is that a big storm could destroy the pool altogether – it is riven with cracks, having not been fully restored since it took a battering in winter weather in the 1970s, and whilst we are managing to keep the pool open for now the day to day maintenance and repairs are getting harder and harder.

These are very similar problems that have been faced by other pools like ours – Tinside Lido in Plymouth and Jubilee Pool in Penzance – and they have been successful in winning millions of pounds worth of grant money to preserve their sites for generations to come.

We want to follow in their footsteps and give our pool the attention it needs and deserves before it is beyond repair – but we need your help.

We are busy preparing a funding bid which, if successful, would not only pay for the full restoration that is needed but would also create sources of income to keep the pool running – and free to swim in – for many more years.

We’re looking at lots of ideas including creating a bigger and better cafe and restaurant, a children’s playground, indoor changing rooms, warm showers, watersports facilities (so we could offer scuba diving, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and more), a poolside cinema, hot tubs and saunas – and lots more.

You can find out more on the Shoalstone Revival page.

We need to be able to show the funders that local people of all ages support these ideas, and are enthusiastic about saving Shoalstone Pool for the community.

And if you have other ideas about how we could improve the facility for you and your family and friends then even better!

We are holding a special consultation evening at the pool on Wednesday 9th August between 6pm and 8pm. Come along to find out more and have your say.

If you can’t make it, make sure you add your voice to our consultation before the end of the summer. This is your pool – and with your help we can make it the best that it can be.

Let us know

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As some of you know we’re thinking about how to keep the pool open, better and repaired into the future. To do this we need to raise income from improvements to the site. Change is always contentious for some and exciting for others. We already have responses to our ideas from neighbours, staff, volunteers, visitors and other towns people. But we want more!

So please read the pages on Shoalstone Revival on this website here and then go here and let us know what you think.

Thanks!

Shoalstone Revival…and so we begin

After a small meeting to kick off our consultation to develop Shoalstone Pool; where we shared some initial ideas; I noticed this while walking along the road the other day –

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So I decided to knock on the door and ask what their concerns were. In short, the resident did not want any development because they believed any work would be disruptive and would spoil their view of the bay. That’s very clear; and good to know. But…

It seems our message that these were ideas, not plans, had not been communicated clearly enough; as the author of the above sign states that we have “… fully formulated plans…”. Let’s be clear, these are ideas. And if none of them gain any confidence from the whole community of Brixham, and don’t meet various conditions set out in the covenants on the land, then they won’t happen.

Let’s think about why we have shared these ideas. Brixham Town Council took the lease of the pool after Torbay District Council threatened to close the pool a few years ago. The pool is run on a shoestring budget and relies on the efforts of over 50 people doing voluntary work. This work includes management (6 voluntary, unpaid directors), maintenance and cleaning (a part time caretaker and tens of voluntary helpers). And we have ten lifeguards paid just above minimum wage for the summer. The Friends of Shoalstone Pool raise money through events; Shoalstone Pool raises some money through events; some income comes from car parking fees, beach hut and deck chair hire; and Brixham Town Council make a small contribution. It’s worth remembering that a Band D property in Brixham pays £43 out of £1677 of its Council Tax to Brixham Town Council or 83p a week. Of this 83p/week, around 4p/week goes to Shoalstone Pool from each Council Tax payer in Brixham.

Two years ago Shoalstone Pool got £50,000 from the national Coastal Communities Fund to do some repairs to the pool. This was on top of almost £40,000 spent in the previous year on repairs. This £90,000 spent has repaired the pool lining, but not fixed it. Fixing it and making it future proof will cost several times more than this. Just to run the pool (with free labour covering management, maintenance and cleaning; ten summer lifeguards and a part-time caretaker; materials, paint, safety equipment, maintenance equipment etc) is around £50,000/year. So more money has to come from somewhere.

One of our principles is that the pool should remain free-to-use for local families, swimmers and visitors. We ask for donations, but like any public pool, these don’t cover the cost of running the pool. So we need to find more ways to raise money. If we don’t the pool will inevitably close…either because people tire of putting their hands in their pockets, or tire of volunteering.

The choice is simple. We either come up with ideas that maximise income and make Shoalstone Pool an even better place to be than it is already, while minimising disruption during and after construction…or we’ll see it’s gradual decline.

So, this summer we will be talking to many, many people to see what they think about our ideas, and what their ideas are. If there are more who support us going ahead we will; if not we won’t. And that’s before we’ve even applied for planning or raised the money to do any work. There’s a long way to go. Help us, rather than hinder us, please.

 

Shoalstone Revival – 1st meeting notes

Notes of first public consultation – 9th May 2017, Brixham Town Hall

35 people in attendance

 

Purpose of meeting

  • Share initial ideas for development of pool space and environs
  • Glean feedback from participants – other ideas, concerns, likes
  • Provide space to clarify ideas and their purpose
  • Share information on way forward

 

Introduction

Idea for developing site came from meetings of Directors. Financial context is sound for day to day running, but more uncertain if pool needs major structural work (either because of long term repair needs or as a consequence of storm damage). So we need to develop sustainable income streams. And we need to develop the pool area to meet developing sports, wellness and accessibility issues of locals and visitors.

Commissioned architects (Kay Elliot) to do initial concept drawings based on ideas from directors. Key themes are – indoor changing and hot showers; creation of indoor space for well being activities (eg yoga, pilates etc); creation of outdoor activity hire space and access to sea (eg kayaks, SUPS); extend beach hut hire (more huts, overnight possibilities); remodel pool for long term benefits; reinstate water pump and filtration system.

 

Concept drawing

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Feedback

General

  • Welcome for the very ambitious plans to keep this facility going
  • Clearly a lot of care needs to be taken to ensure any development does not adversely affect the special environment of the rocks area
  • Potential noise levels
  • Privacy issues
  • Anti-social behavior
  • Extra traffic
  • Health and safety
  • Impact on property prices
  • Signage
  • Impact of tides
  • Can you vary the lease on Shoals café if extended?
  • Need to comply with planning and covenants on land

 

Specific users

  • We enjoy the informal access all year round for dog walks on the coastline – need this to continue
  • Motor boats dangerous for swimmers

 

Environment

  • Clearly a lot of care needs to be taken to ensure any development does not adversely affect the special environment of the rocks area

 

Facilities

Like –

  • outdoor showers, changing village,
  • natural play area, learning and sport opportunities

 

Not so sure –

  • car parking, adequacy of parking,
  • number of overnight beach huts, size of beach huts, beach huts blocking views from car park, building levels
  • need to consider access for kayak, SUP hire – not good over rocks and access to Lady Beach not great
  • size of play area shouldn’t be too big

 

Like to see –

  • hoist for pool access, changing rooms for wheelchair bound adults with hoist, accessible, toilet
  • cameras in car park to ensure payment, recommission overflow car park, consider other uses (eg dive shack office, climbing wall)
  • seasonal day/week rentable huts
  • In the children’s play area incorporate a heritage experience that educates the children while they are having fun, education uses, space for teenagers
  • Ideas for re-use of existing shelters
  • Reinstate pump room, heated pool
  • Pontoon into sea

 

Shoalstone Revival

Thank you to everyone who came to our public meeting to begin the consultation process for the Shoalstone Revival project. It was fantastic to see so many interested people there, with lots of enthusiasm for the future and some great ideas about how we can move things forwards.

For those of you who weren’t able to attend, please find below some more details about the project so far:

Shoalstone Revival project proposal Nov 16

Public meeting presentation 9th May 2017

Masterplan v1 Kay Elliott

Whilst we have been working on the vision for a while, we are still at the beginning of a very long process. Before we can apply for funding we need to have a clear idea about what developments we would like to make at the site and how these will provide security for the pool’s future.

As we progress we are keen to communicate fully with the local community – both keeping you in the loop about our thinking, and taking on board your feedback about how we can make it better. We are in the process of collating the ideas that came out of this initial meeting, and will publish those shortly.

In the mean time please do get in touch if you have any thoughts or ideas you would like to share – you can email us on info@shoalstonepool.com.

In particular if you feel you have the skills and experience to help us move this project forwards then we would love to hear from you – we are always looking for more volunteers to assist us with the mammoth task of making our local lido the very best that it can be.