At last nights call in meeting it was a one all score draw for common sense. The committee upheld the decision I had taken on behalf of the council to introduce charging at Lowther to help pay for the upkeep of the park and pavilion. I think the council will start reaping the rewards of this with in a year and I am please that the committee upheld the Conservatives wishes on this. I firmly believe that it is right that people who use the park help in a small way to contribute towards the maintenance costs of the park they enjoy.
However, the committee heard the swimming bus arguments and were persuaded to ask Full Council to consider the decision to scrap the swim bus in favour of Free Swimming for all under 16’s. My opponents arguments were based on their belief that the under usage of the bus is based on little advertisement. I argued that despite the best advertisement ever last year the numbers of users was still very low.
This service has been running for 28 years, it is hardly a surprise to people and I’d have thought that those councillors who represent a ward where this limited service runs would have spent more time in advertising it themselves, rather than their point scoring ‘I told you so.’
I feel the committee were minded to have one last go at making the swim bus a success. I’m not sure what the criteria for success will be, but when we come to debate this at full council it will be argued that whatever the usage figures are it will have been a success.
I am now in a dilemma. On behalf of the council I wanted to scrap one service and replace it with an even better service. It was a direct replacement and I was not sure if we had the finance to run both schemes. However, after asking the officers of the council I am sure that we can run both services this year. I’ll have to take another decision on behalf of the council next year if the bus service still runs as to whether we can still run the two together.
But as I’ve always said I want swimming for the many and not the few and I am still cross at the handful of opposition councillors who have tried to wreck free swimming for all under 16’s for no other reason than narrow political gain and point scoring. I can understand those councillors who wards were affected fighting to retain this service, I would if it as a ward councillor do so for Wesham, however some off these councillors from Lytham and St Annes and other wards not affect should think of the wider benefit to the community that free swimming for all under 16’s brings.
It is indeed sad that we nearly had to scrap the free swimming, however I am glad that we’ve not and being the customer focused Conservative controlled council that we are able to offer both services this year.
The free swimming is proving a huge success with over 500 children benefiting from this, while at the same time only 16 young people used the swim bus.