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Heathfield Pool Project

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Press Release 12/2/2021



Plug pulled on pool plans.


After much sustained effort the Board of the Heathfield Partnership, who have been co-ordinating a
plan to provide Heathfield with equivalent swimming facilities enjoyed by all other Wealden towns
for the last ten years admitted defeat.


Richard Karn, the director of the Partnership with responsibility for Sport and Leisure said “The
Swimming Pool project has always enjoyed fantastic community support however the national
funding landscape looks even bleaker now than it did when the project first gathered momentum’.


Acknowledging the progress that the team had made, Rupert Simmons, Chair of the Partnership
added “Despite austerity nationally throughout the financial crisis, we secured land and planning
permission through the co-operation and encouragement of East Sussex County Council. At one
stage Sport England allocated a 2012 Olympic Training pool to the project however without the
necessary financial support we were unable to capitalise on this opportunity’.
“Setting aside the challenge associated with raising the necessary capital to construct the pool, a
strategic review of leisure facilities conducted by Wealden District Council has proved the final nail
in the coffin. Without the existing dry leisure facilities to run alongside a pool, it is impossible to see
the project as operationally sustainable.”


Richard Karn and Rupert Simmons both paid tribute to Rosemary Mays-Smith, a former Director,
whose leadership of this campaign was so committed for so many years.


Donations made towards the pool have funded professional costs incurred in designing a facility
and securing planning permission however some residual funds are available and the Directors
have agreed two donations which they feel are appropriate particularly in the current challenging
lockdown situation.


The first is a donation of £10,000 to provide laptops for primary school pupils to be shared between
the schools serving the Parish of Heathfield & Waldron. In consultation with local head teachers it
is clear that many families are struggling currently either having to share computers or trying to
access education using games platforms and mobile phones.


The computers have been purchased locally from Heathfield based SystemActive who have coordinated

a part exchange facility and donated a device free of charge to make the initiative reach as many pupils as possible.

Harrison Ruffle from SystemActive said “We are delighted to have
been selected to supply the devices which will support the Heathfield economy further”.


The computers will be allocated to families by the schools concerned on a loan basis.
Acting co-Head Teachers of Parkside Primary, Helen Punter-Bruce & Derek Hollywood said “Thank
you so much for considering this project - it will make a huge difference to a lot of local children we
have no doubt”. Sarah Massheder, Head Teacher of Cross in Hand Primary added “With 367
children in our school, we have received 12 laptops from the government. Whilst we are grateful
for these, we know that there are many more local families who would benefit from a dedicated
device”. The other Schools to benefit are Maynards Green, Five Ashes, All Saints and St Richards
and Punnett’s Town.


A second donation of £5,000 has been awarded to the Splash Committee who operate the pool at
Cross in Hand Primary School. The outdoor pool continues to provide swimming lessons to many local children and is also
available for external hire, enabling families to enjoy swimming locally all be it in an outdoor
environment. Elliott Stevens, said on behalf of the Committee “the challenge of continuing to
maintain and improve the facilities is constant and we are very pleased to receive this donation to
support our work, much of which is already done in a voluntary capacity”.