General News

Kemptown MP urges Council to rethink Christmas day swimming ban

Besi Besemar December 22, 2014

Simon Kirby, the MP for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven, urges Brighton and Hove City Council to rethink its recent decision to cancel the traditional Christmas Day Sea Swim on “health and safety” grounds.

Brighton Christmas Day Swim

THE ANNUAL swim has taken place on Christmas day in Brighton and Hove for decades and has grown in recent years with hundreds of people taking part or watching from the breach.

Simon said: “In the past, the “Santa swim” has been called off due to particularly harsh weather conditions or high tides and this is entirely appropriate. There are clearly some genuine safety issues to be considered when entering the sea, but this blanket ban seems draconian. I would rather see the Council working with swimmers to ensure that this popular community event can take place safely, rather than penalising everyone who may want to carry on the traditional swim.”

The MP suggested a number of measures that could be considered, including:

Using another stretch of the beach for the swim, with a less steep gradient, making it easier and safer for people entering and leaving the water

Moving the event to Boxing Day or Christmas Eve if it proves too problematic to ensure safety on Christmas Day itself

Scheduling the event to always take place at low tide to reduce the dangers

Agreeing a backup date in the event of rough seas on the day

Simon continued: “It does strike me as a case of health and safety gone slightly mad. What is needed is some common sense. I am not sure how practical it is to try and enforce such a ban anyway. The cost of this would have been better spent on facilitating a safe community event for people to continue to enjoy, as they have done for over a hundred years!”

“Swimming in the sea at any time of the year poses safety issues and of course people should not swim if they have been drinking. Sadly, I suspect that the Council’s ban will not deter these people anyway and so it will only be the responsible swimmers that are penalised.”