Nearly two years after the death of two children in separate accidents in hotel swimming pools in Cornwall the local authority has demanded rigid enforcement of safety regulations.
Restormel Borough Council has ordered its officers to take a tough line on the 140 hotel pools in its area, which includes Newquay and St Austell. Many hotels do not have full-time lifeguards.
Five-year-old Joshua Curtis Moore, of Sale in Cheshire, was found dead in the pool of the Castaways Beach hotel in Porth near Newquay on 19 August 1997, while six-year-old Daniel Cummings drowned at the nearby Pentire hotel five days later.
Both hotels were prosecuted by the local authority. In the Castaways Beach hotel case at Truro Crown Court the judge criticised the local authority for having failed to inspect the pool since 1992; while in the Pentire hotel case, heard in the magistrates' court, the council was accused by the defending solicitor of being wise after the event.
National guidelines allow pools to be unsupervised, but only when used by limited numbers of people and when free of slides and diving boards. Access must be controlled, emergency procedures must be in place and house rules can be enforced by the hotel as a legal right.
Following the Castaways Beach case in June, Restormel warned operators that the clarity of the water in their pools must be regularly monitored: if the bottom of the pools cannot be seen, then they should be closed immediately.
by Douglas Bence