Stormy waters at swimming pool

CALM waters of Ipswich's Broomhill swimming pool have turned decidedly stormy as cross-channel swimmer Mike Read battles to be able to train alone.After being prevented from using the pool on his own Mr Read is now bombarding council officials with dozens of e-mails, including photos he has taken, to make allegations about health and safety issues.

CALM waters of Ipswich's Broomhill swimming pool have turned decidedly stormy as cross-channel swimmer Mike Read battles to be able to train alone.

After being prevented from using the pool on his own Mr Read is now bombarding council officials with dozens of e-mails, including photos he has taken, to make allegations about health and safety issues.

The move comes after Mr Read from Sproughton was prevented from training alone, because the council decided it contravened health and safety regulations. He had a key for 25 years, so he could train when he wanted.

Mr Read claims he is being prevented from training properly if he cannot find a responsible person to be with him, and there are too many people around to swim at public times.

Mr Read told officials: "My training has been reduced to about 30per cent of the desired level and that I have unfortunately, had to decline invitations to swims in New York, Lamia and Kalamata.

"I am afraid, that now you have brought my training virtually at a standstill, I have a lot of time available to me to take an interest in the Health and Safety portfolio. There have been double standards from the first day."

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One of the issues Mr Read has pointed out to the council is the alleged mess he has seen with litter strewn near the pool. He also criticised staff behaviour.

An IBC spokesman said: "As Mike Read well knows we have a legal duty to look after the safety of all our customers and we cannot and will not make one rule for them and one rule for Mike. It is a shame that we don't see eye to eye on some issues as we value the role Mike has played in being a sporting ambassador for Ipswich. We are doing all we can to reach an understanding but we cannot and will not compromise on people's safety. Mike wants his own key so he can gain access to the pool for personal use whenever he likes without appropriate safeguards being in place. Obviously we cannot agree to this demand.

"Mike enjoys free use of our facilities despite not living in the town and so not paying Council Tax to Ipswich. We hope he shall continue to use our facilities. He is very welcome to use Broomhill when it is available as long as he is properly supervised. We would like to stress that Mike does have access to the pool when it is not normally open to the general public between 10am and 11am and between 6.30pm and 7pm - providing he is accompanied by a responsible person.

"He also has access when the pool is normally open to the public and when the pool is not full special arrangements can be made for him to have a lane roped off to allow him to train. He also enjoys free use of Crown Pools when Broomhill is not available and can train there.

"Broomhill Pool has been inspected recently by the Health and Safety Executive and they were satisfied with the council's arrangements for safety."

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