Re-opening of Moseley Road Baths planned for late May
Following an extended period of closure caused by structural problems with a wall in Pool 2, repair work was due to commence at Moseley Road Baths on March 21st, with a hoped for re-opening date of no later than May 23rd. The Baths failed to re-open after the Christmas and New Year break ahead of work commencing to repair the lintel support to the rear door of Pool 2. However, many users felt the closure to be premature, occurring as it did some weeks before the finance needed to carry out the repairs was in place.
With Sparkhill Pool closed since June 2008, swimmers have been forced to use alternative facilities, such as the leisure pools at Cocks Moors Woods and Fox Hollies, or the narrower and shorter pool at Tiverton Road in Selly Oak. To many Moseley Road Baths regulars, such facilities have proved inappropriate to their specific swimming needs. The closure has been particularly problematic for local schools, with many unable to afford the transport costs involved in travelling to pools further afield and with little or no spare capacity on the timetable for schools at these venues anyway.
The door that needs a new lintel today serves as a fire exit, having been added during World War II when Moseley Road Baths was used as a first aid centre.
Councillor Martin Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, has kept residents and the Friends of Moseley Road Baths informed during the last few months of progress in arranging the repairs and getting the funds released by the Council Finance Department. However, a start date for the repairs was only confirmed in early March.
According to Councillor Mullaney: “The objective of the works is to replace the lintel on the fire exit of Pool 2, which will allow the pool to re-open to the public. The work will take between 6-9 weeks, depending on the complexity of the issues discovered when the current rotten lintel is removed. So at worst, the pool will re-open to public around 23rd May.”
The initial work involves constructing a steel frame to support the gable wall after the present lintel is removed. Speaking of the building’s long- term future, Councillor Mullaney stated that meetings have recently taken place involving senior council officers and English Heritage officials to investigate ways in which restoration of other areas of the baths building could be undertaken as part of a Heritage Lottery Fund bid.