An Olympic diver and television presenter has joined both Haringey’s MPs supporting a campaign to save diving boards at a Crouch End leisure centre.
Leon Taylor, the former Olympic diver and the judge on ITV’s Splash!, Tottenham MP David Lammy and Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone have signed a petition to save the diving facilities at Park Road Leisure Centre.
More than 1,700 people have so far signed the petition to save the diving boards, started after Fusion Lifestyle and Haringey Borough Council revealed plans to get rid of all the centre’s diving boards – despite promising to improve them last year.
Mr Taylor said: "As an Olympic diver I feel very strongly about making sure there are as many facilities as possible from people to take part in this amazing sport.
“Especially after the inspiration of 2012 Olympic Games where many more people are interested in trying the sport especially in London."
Mr Lammy is the honorary president of Haringey Aquatics, a swimming and diving group who are one of the pool’s main users.
He said: “The Diving Pit at Park Road Pools is not only an important cultural institution for people across the borough, it is one of the few remaining public diving facilities across England.
“Since 1977, London has seen a 94 per cent reduction in the number of public diving facilities, from ninety-six to now just six venues.
“However, interest in diving is at an all-time high, no doubt due to the successes of the Olympic Games in 2012.”
Mr Lammy added: “I am deeply concerned by the proposed plans, and I will be pressuring Haringey Council and Fusion to reconsider their position in order to save the cultural gem."
Fusion won the 20-year contract to run the centre on the understanding it would refurbish the pool, put in a movable floor for the diving pool, expand the gym and make other improvements.
But half way through January it told Haringey Aquatics, a swimming and diving club which uses the pool, that plans had changed and diving facilities at Park Road would be removed.
Campaigners have accused Fusion and the council of offering one plan to the public for approval then switching to another to meet financial targets.
Ms Featherstone, the Hornsey and Wood Green MP, said: “When Haringey Council gave Fusion the contract to manage Park Road – they promised residents that the diving facilities would remain in place and be improved.
“Now, the Labour-run council and Fusion are about to remove these facilities without consultation.
“Many local residents have contacted me to express their disappointment and concern at the loss of the diving boards. I am right behind them – and very happy to support their campaign to save the boards.”
The Liberal Democrat MP has contacted the council’s chief executive to request his urgent intervention.
Fusion and the council have said it would cost more than £1million, as well as delays of six months to improvement works, if the diving boards remained at the centre.