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Burgess Hill Paddling Pool

Where's Our Paddling Pool?

29th September 2009
By Peter Chapman

The Mid Sussex times has reported recently that Mid Sussex district council have been awarded £121,000 from central government in order to improve three outdoor playing facilities. East Grinstead and Ardingly have been identified as recipients of the funding, but the most interesting use of the money is the £45k that will go towards the £112k that the council want to spend on replacing the paddling pool in Victoria Park, Haywards Heath with a fancy pants 'Splashpad'

A key aim of Mid Sussex District Council is to develop a healthy lifestyle, and a facility such as the new fancy paddling pool will enable young people to get fit, be active and to socialise with other children. The water facility in Haywards Heath is free to use.

This is an example of what the new splashpad could look like.

It's all very well and good for Haywards Heath to benefit from the councils money, but what about Burgess Hill?

Anyone over the age of 15 will probably remember the Swim Centre in St Johns Park, it featured an outdoor 25 metre swimming pool, overlooked by a sunbathing area and a smaller circular paddling pool. Whilst this facility wasn't free, it was rather cheap and perfect for families to enjoy during the warmer weather.

Sadly, the Swim Centre was closed when its services along with that of the Sydney West Centre were combined and made into the Triangle Leisure Centre on the edge of town. The new sports centre isn't known for having family friendly prices.

So Haywards Heath essentially gets a new water facility to replace an old one, and Burgess Hill gets nothing. £121k is a huge amount of money. Why don't the council spend half the amount and just smarten up the paddling pool in Haywards Heath and in turn, Burgess Hill can also have a no thrills paddling pool installed in St Johns park. Children don't need fancy water fountains and pressure sensitive jets, they have their imagination.

If one needs to get petty about it, Victoria Park has just had a new skate park installed, so surely it's now St Johns Park turn to have some money spent on it?

Research has thrown up a picture of a paddling pool in St Johns Park from 1960.

Thankfully, Burgess Hill Councillor Anne Jones is aware of the former free water facility and has been making some noise about Burgess Hill families deserving a paddling pool back in St Johns Park. Anne is a very proactive councillor, with her on the case, Burgess Hill is sure to get a half decent crack.

The council have said a public enquiry will take place in 2010 regarding the new paddling pool in Victoria Park. Lets hope that when the enquiry begins, it will be about a paddling pool for Burgess Hill.

Would you like to see a new water facility in St Johns Park? Is it wrong for the council to ignore Burgess Hill's need in favour of Haywards Heath?
Let us know your thoughts by emailing

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