Should new centre welcome nude swimmers?

Tuesday 21st January 2020 1:01 pm
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The nudists at their last naked swim ()

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NUDISTS have criticised Alton Sports Centre bosses for not letting them swim naked at the new facility.

The nude swimmers were told in a letter that their traditional monthly sessions were no longer appropriate as the new pool is visible from the cafe, reception and children’s play area.

But one naturist, who wanted to remain anonymous, was angry that they had not been consulted.

He said the move was the result of “a thoroughly cynical policy” and described the reason given as “spurious”.

“This claim seems to be untrue, as blinds could easily hide the naturists from public view, and driven by an apparent dislike of the obligation to hold naturist swims,” he added.

He spoke of an historic agreement made as “a result of some kind of donation or financial contribution” when the previous sports centre first opened in 1972.

The nudists have now issued a freedom of information request to learn more.

David Love, area contract manager at Everyone Active, explained the decision: “The new centre has been built to Sport England specification in such a way to showcase all areas of the building.

“As a result there is a substantial amount of glazing both internally and externally within the pool hall.

“The external glazing is floor to ceiling along two sides of the main pool and makes the pool hall visible from a number of viewpoints.

“The internal glazing allows full view in to the pool area from the cafe, reception, clip and climb and soft play areas. For these reasons, unfortunately the new Alton Sports Centre will no longer be able to cater for naturist swimming sessions.

“The club are still welcome to utilise all facilities at the new Alton Sports Centre, including swim sessions under our company clothing policy.”

The Daily Mail, The Telegraph and the BBC all reported the dispute ahead of the new centre’s launch on Saturday.

District councillor Paula Langley said “well done” to the naturists for their press coverage.

“I think this is about public consultation and the failures in the outsourcing of our public services that leave groups like yours with no avenues for discussion,” she told them.

“Public money has been used to build this centre and so East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) saying they have no control over what happens is alarming.”

District councillor Steve Hunt added: “I have always campaigned for open decision making and find the high handed attitude of Everyone Active shocking.

“As they are operating a contract for EHDC there must be some mechanism by which the decision to ban the naturist swim can be looked at again.

“Since EA already operate another pool with large windows which has naturist swimmers there must be a way to proceed. Residents in the Treloars Estate are already upset by light spillage from the pool so perhaps some screening or tinted glass covering would also help them.”

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