Imperial College London is set to close the swimming pool at St Mary’s campus at the end of the academic year, citing a low number of College users.
The swimming pool, which is located in Paddington, will close its doors on the 16th July, 2018. In a statement online, the College said it was “not sustainable to continue running this facility given the costs of required maintenance and the fact that only 15% of the pool’s users are from the College community”.
The move has prompted criticism from the pool’s users, who told Felix that little information had been passed on to them – a decision one staff member called “quite shocking and frankly offensive”. One of the clinical lead doctors at St Mary’s told Felix: “Colleagues are upset and angry. There are no pools in the vicinity, and the location is convenient for most staff. The pool is very well-attended, with many non-staff users. It’s an institution that has been around for a long time, and they have tried to close it down before.”
“One staff member told Felix that staff were ‘upset and angry’ over the closure of the pool”
Felix has also been told that NHS staff who tried to protest against the closure were told “not to make trouble”.
The decision was made by Provost’s Board as “part of the wider cost savings around Campus Services”, which include removal of the Senior Common Room cooked breakfasts, reduced outlet opening hours, and a reduction in catering options.
In a statement, an Imperial College School of Medicine Student Union (ICSMSU) representative told Felix: “ICSMSU regrets the closure of the St Mary’s pool, and will work with College and Imperial College Union to ensure minimal disruption to the student experience.”
The 20-meter swimming pool is open to students, Imperial staff, NHS staff, and members of the public. The College said the swimming pool at Ethos, on the South Kensington campus, would be “available for all College students and staff”. At the beginning of this academic year, College announced plans to cut the out-of-term opening hours of Ethos by 18 hours a week.