Year-round swimmers petition to reinstate short-term parking near pools
Hundreds of hardy swimmers are calling for the return of short-term parking at the Bathing Pools.
A petition spearheaded by outdoor swimming group Guernsey Swim All Seasons has attracted about 500 signatures.
It was started after about 10 spaces opposite La Vallette Underground Military Museum changed from two-hour parking to 10-hour parking for the winter.
There has been a sharp rise in year-round swimming in recent years, leading to greater demand at the pools.
However the petition came as a surprise to Traffic & Highway Services lead officer Colin Le Page.
He said that as far as he was aware, there had not been a recent direct approach from Guernsey Swim All Seasons and he had only been made aware of the petition indirectly.
He added that THS had been approached by another interested party with a similar request and had arranged a meeting to discuss the issue.
‘We have already provided additional short-term parking in this area by converting 10 long-stay spaces into two-hour spaces in the winter period, to mirror the summer arrangements, in response to a previous request,’ he said.
‘We are happy to consider this request for further short-term parking in the area to cater for the popularity of winter swimming.
‘However, we have to carefully balance the needs of all parties, including those that might require longer-term parking, so we will take a look at how often and at what times the existing short-stay parking is at capacity.’
At the moment there are 11 two-hour parking spaces just past La Vallette and room for about 18 cars in a two-hour zone along the road. The rest of La Vallette is a 10-hour zone.
Winter swimmers at the pools yesterday said that it was increasingly difficult to find somewhere to park in La Vallette, especially around lunchtimes.
Guernsey Swim All Seasons member Jason Green said he planned to sign the petition.
‘I come here most lunchtimes and you are very lucky to find a space,’ he said.
‘Swimming has become so popular since Covid and I just don’t think they have taken that into account.’
Alex Brooks said the lack of parking was a common topic of conversation at the pools.
‘They have designed this wonderful space to bring people in and encourage them to swim, but you can’t park,’ she said.
‘I often have to park some distance away and walk in.’
Regular swimmer Anna Louise said that lunchtime swimmers who worked away from the Town were missing out on their dip.
If you can’t park, you can’t swim, ’ she said.
A number of swimmers wondered why there were hashed lines outside the pool area, cutting down on spaces, and said they believed the parking could be reconfigured so more cars could park.
‘No one knows what the hashed area is for,’ said swimmer Jenny Froome, ‘they could easily add more spaces as well as there is loads of room especially for small cars. It’s causing problems in the road as there are always people going up and down trying to find somewhere to park.’
The petition was launched by Swim All Seasons Founder Min Henry.
‘The Bathing Pools are a vibrant community hub, with increased users wanting to access these great public facilities, more so in the winter, as these pools are a safer space to swim,’ she said.
‘The Bathing Pools are a social gathering point, that fosters community spirit. However, without adequate parking facilities, people are finding it increasingly challenging to access these amenities and meet friends.’
The petition can be found here