Hampton Pool is situated in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Hampton, Hampton Hill, Hampton Wick and Teddington are the local communities around the edges of Bushy Park in which Hampton Heated Open Air Pool is situated. Residents in these areas constitute the majority of customers. There are two other swimming pools in the Borough, both run by the London Borough of Richmond but Hampton Heated Open Air Pool is unique in both its setting and character.
The Urban District Council of Hampton originally opened Hampton Pool in 1922 and successive local authorities managed it until it was temporarily closed in 1980. Over the years the swimming pool was enlarged and the current building was erected in the 1960s. For four years after closure the pool became a fly tippers paradise. In 1983 the Council announced the permanent closure of the pool and the intention to return it to parkland. A vigorous local “Save Our Pool” campaign, new local elections and a change in the Council in 1984 resulted in the pool being transferred to what is now Hampton Pool Trust. Prior to reopening, over £75,000 was raised from local fund raising activities, donations from the private and public sectors including Richmond Council. The first step was to provide heated water but other refurbishment was carried out.
Hampton Pool Trust is a not for profit company and a registered charity. Since 1985 when the pool re-opened to the public, the pool has developed into a valuable community facility, thanks to the huge, unpaid effort of trustees and well wishers.
Over the years
In 1996 a major redevelopment plan costed at £2.3 million was taken to full planning approval and an application made to the National Lottery for part funding. Unfortunately, this application was turned down, even after appeal, but implementation of a scaled down version of the plan has now been completed with financial assistance from LBRUT and HFAC (with the exception of phase three).
2004 saw the completion of the first phase of the long planned improvements by refurbishing the tank at a cost of some £370,000 and The New Hampton Pool was reopened. The first refurbishment of the interior of the main building was completed during 2006 and a second phase (jointly funded by HPT and YMCA LSW) completed in 2011.
There is still a lot to do to improve the facility such as: the resurfacing, drainage and lighting of the car park (£75,000?), providing access to the terrace for people who cannot climb stairs (lift £50,000?), improving the café and funding business expansion.
Since April 2007 the day to day management of the facility has been contracted out to YMCA London South West. This has resulted in a higher level of management professionalism and the new arrangements have run remarkably smoothly with very few hiccups. (The results for the first twelve months yielded a surplus of £20,000 of which HPT received £10,000).
However this does not mean that the Hampton Pool Trust has no ongoing job to do. Essentially trustees have a duty to monitor the management agreement, strive to improve the facilities and have to ensure that there are contingency plans for swimming at Hampton Pool to continue if/when the Management Agreement with YMCA is terminated.
Furthermore, Hampton Pool Trust remains the owner of the main swimming tank, the learner pool, the buildings and most of the equipment. The directors/trustees therefore have duties of ownership of these substantial assets.
Moreover, HPT holds the 3-party licence from the government (via their Royal Parks agency) to use the 2-acre site. The other party is the Council which pays HPT the vital annual grant of roughly £30K. LBRUT Council pays such grants only to Voluntary Organisations which are based in this Borough. Therefore, YMCA is not eligible for such a grant. Trustees are also the main guardians of the “unique special ethos” of Hampton Pool which has built up over 25 years.
Hampton Pool is a thriving community asset with much goodwill from the general public, both customers and non-customers. Swimming now takes place at Hampton Pool on 365 days of the year, including Christmas Day and New Years Day.