We have received this press release from former Cabinet Member for Sport, Leisure and Culture, Martin Mullaney. Frustrated with the Council’s failure to submit the HLF bid he is making a public protest about their failure to commit to the long term future of the building.
Why I will be chaining myself to Moseley Road baths this Thursday
This Thursday, 14th February, between 10am and 12noon I will be chaining myself to Moseley Road baths at protest against Birmingham City Council’s recent decision to cancel the Heritage Lottery bid for phase 1 of the restoration of the baths AND its announcement that once the current boilers break down or the buildings have a structural fault they will be permanently closing the building to swimming. Readers of my blog will know that both the boilers and the roof of the building are on their last legs and probably won’t last longer than 2015.
I will be wearing an Edwardian swimming costume, since Moseley Road baths are the last completely intact and operating Edwardian swimming baths in Britain. Statutory listed Grade II* – less than 10% of listed buildings have such a high listing – these baths are not only important to Balsall Heath, but are of national importance.
I was Cabinet member for Leisure, Sport and Culture for Birmingham City Council from 2009 to 2012 and led on the Council’s Heritage Lottery bid for these baths. In March 2012, I persuaded my Cabinet colleagues to commit to allocating £3million of 2015/16 capital money from the Council’s budget, which would be used as match funding against a bid for £5million from the Heritage Lottery fund.
The total cost of this phase 1 of the restoration of Moseley Road baths would have been £8million (£3million from the Council; £5million from the Heritage Lottery Fund) and would have done the following:
Permanent repairs to the exterior fabric of the building with a life of 25 years – so basically a complete re-roofing to stop any water ingress
Complete re-wiring and new machinery (eg new boilers) for the pool. We would be particular keen to install a combined heat and power system in the boiler house. This would heat all the buildings along Moseley Road and help to regenerate this corridor.
Pool 2 maintained as a community swimming pool
Pool 1 boarded over and used for community use.
In December 2012, the new Labour administration announced that the Heritage Lottery bid was been withdrawn and there would no longer be any plans to restore the baths or even to keep them as swimming baths. Further, the Labour administration has repeatedly claimed the £3million allocated never existed. This is total rubbish. The Cabinet report allocating the £3million was counter-signed by the Chief Financial officer who is not allowed to sign financial reports if the financial details do not add up or the monies are non-existent. The money would have come from the 2015/16 capital budget which amounts to £1,000million per year and £3million within that budget would have been set aside for Moseley Road baths.
Please feel free to join me at this protest. You don’t need to lock yourself up. Just be there and show support.
(0121) 689 4372