We have EVENTUALLY received a formal response to the petition that was submitted several months ago. This confirms that the Council does not ‘strategically support long term swimming provision at the pool’ and intends to keep it running for a couple of years until Sparkhill Baths are rebuilt. What is being presented beyond that is a best case scenario of trying to prevent further deterioration of the building – in other words it will be mothballed providing funds can be found. What is also significant about the statement is the omission of any mention of a Trust or other provider taking over the running of the building.
Once again promises are being made about the importance of the ‘A435 corridor’ with its heritage attractions. We’re losing count of the number of initiatives, promises of funding and consultations around this grand idea. Whilst they try to fob residents off with plans to regenerate the area, the actual fabric of these buildings is deteriorating yet further. Closing the building at the centre of this so-called ‘corridor’ is unlikely to help with this vision of a heritage centre.
The Friends of Moseley Road Baths are requesting that local head teachers, councillors and community leaders sign an open letter highlighting the need to keep the building open as a swimming facility. So far we have had a positive response – people from a broad cross-section of the community know the ‘strategic importance’ of ensuring that children and adults have access to swimming lessons and sessions – for their health, their safety and wellbeing.
If you represent a section of the local community and wish to sign the letter then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Friends of Moseley Road Baths have their monthly meeting this Thursday, 22nd August at 7:30pm at Anderton Park School Children’s Centre, Dennis Road, Balsall Heath. Anyone wanting to be involved in the campaign against the closure is invited to join us.
The Council’s response
Re Petition Number 1578 Keep Moseley Baths Open
Thank you for the petition presented to the City Council on 11 June 2013 concerning the future of Moseley Road Baths. The Deputy Leader of the Council. Councillor Ian Ward, along with local Ward Councillors and officers met with Friends of Moseley Road Baths on 9 January 2013 to consider the future operation of the facility. At the meeting the Deputy Leader made it clear that the new administration had undertaken a financial review of the capital programme for the Council and had not been able to identify a sum of £3m claimed to have been set aside to match fund a £5m Heritage Lottery Bid. He also explained that as a result of financial pressures to resolve a significant Equal Pay Claim the Government had required the Council to use capital resources to help settle the claim. This meant there was no likelihood of any capital being found in the near future to match fund an HLF scheme. As a result the Council would not be proceeding with an HLF bid at this time.
The Council is however supportive of the significant heritage value this building has for local communities and the District Committee has been working on developing a heritage corridor approach to consider the options for a range of buildings along the A435.
Councillor Ward did however state that the Council could not strategically support the long term swimming provision at the pool and that the construction of the new Sparkhill Pool would meet the local need for swimming in the District.
In the meantime the Hall Green District Committee is committed to try to maintain the operation of the swimming pool for as long as feasible given the budget pressures in Sport and Leisure and is committed to working with Friends of Moseley Road Baths and other stakeholders to help determine its future. The Council is also working with English Heritage, looking at the potential for funding that could be provided to help prevent on-going deterioration of the external fabric.