As a much needed kick up the **** to Birmingham City Council, Editorial Girl has penned an excellent blogpost highlighting the dire state of Moseley Road Baths and the Council’s inaction on even doing the most rudimentary of repairs. Great stuff.
We’re really pleased to share the news that the Swimming Without Water exhibition will be going ahead, starting next week.
The collective of artists will be using the currently unused Gala Pool at Moseley Road Baths to display their artwork. (Apologies, we’ve just found out that it’s actually going to be in the area directly outside the Gala Pool!) Their aim is to bring together their contemporary artwork with the space and the audience to create a unique experience.
‘The artists, Debby Akam, Flora Gare and Tim Skinner, are working to bind their works with this glorious historic building, to re-enliven it; to repopulate it through an engagement with the building and the audience (swimmers and non-swimmers from Moseley Road and beyond) through the medium of art.’
The exhibition begins on 18th February and will run until 15th March. All are welcome – a great chance to experience some interesting new art as well as step through the doors of Moseley Road Bath’s much-loved Gala Pool after years of closure.
Let us know your thoughts!
At the Friends of Moseley Road Baths meeting with Cllr Mullaney on 21st January we discussed options for funding swimming provision in Hall Green Constituency. Three options have been put on the table for the urgent work required to ensure that Sparkhill has swimming facilities. Two of these involve building new swimming facilities on the current site, with costs estimated at £10m and £13m respectively. A third involves a PFI pool at Moseley School as part of their new sports and leisure facilities which has been costed at £3m.
The big-sell on this is that the less Council money spent on Sparkhill the more money will be available to re-open Moseley Road Bath’s Gala Pool.
We welcome plans to re-open Moseley Road Baths’ Gala Pool and fully support the Friends of Sparkhill Baths’ calls to ensure that swimming facilities are provided in Sparkhill as soon as possible. However, we are fully behind the Friends of Sparkhill Baths in their opposition to the PFI model for our public swimming facilities. We also agree that Sparkhill Pool should remain on its current site, whether that means utilising the facade of the existing pool or rebuilding on the Stratford Road site.
You can read more about the plans and politics around it on The Stirrer website – here and here. In the meantime we are urging Cllr Mullaney and council officers to ensure that consultation and decisions around the future of swimming provision at both Sparkhill and Moseley Road Baths are transparent and accountable. Our local pools are in such a dire state because of years of short-term planning, lack of proper investment and politicking. Let’s ensure that good quality provision, accessibility and the needs of the immediate community are put at the heart of new plans.
There will be a meeting at 6.45pm on Wednesday 3rd February at Sparkhill Social and Cultural Centre on Stratford Rd, next to the swimming baths for all those interested in the plans. Cllr Mullaney has decided not to attend the meeting, but it is hoped that he will reverse this decision and use the opportunity to speak directly with the public on this issue.
NB. We have since learnt that Cllr Mullaney WILL be attending this meeting.
Shortly before Christmas the Hall Green Constituency meeting took place, with its main aim being to find a way to cut the constituency’s budget by £1m in order to help balance the books. As part of this several points were raised which will affect Moseley Road Baths. We should know more about these when we meet with Cllr Martin Mullaney, the Cabinet member for Sport, Leisure and Culture this coming Thursday.
The first point relates to maintenance work which has taken place over the Christmas period. It is hoped that the short-term closure of the holidays will stop water leakages from Pool 2, resulting in £30,000 savings per year in water and heating costs. Additional changing facilities will also be installed, thanks to the fundraising efforts of Philip Morris who hit the news a few weeks back!
Secondly, opening hours for public swimming will be reduced and replaced with extra time for club and group swimming (overall opening times will remain the same). The changes will mainly affect the latter part of the day. Brett Willers, the Constituency Director, claimed that there is significant unmet demand for group swimming, but acknowledged that the reason for the change was because groups and clubs pay to swim whereas most individuals currently swim for free. We have expressed concern at this decrease in public swimming and will be speaking to Cllr Mullaney about this on Thursday. In the meantime, we urge everyone to ring ahead of their visit (0121 464 0150) to check for timetable changes.
Finally, we are still awaiting the official announcement on a consultant’s report into re-opening the Gala Pool. However, we have learnt that it recommends that there should be an initial expenditure of £300,000 to make the building ‘watertight’ with an investment of £9m in 2011 or 2012 to reopen the pool, with the work only commencing once Sparkhill has been reopened. This is much less than some of the claims made in the press and is comparable with the cost of building a new facility. We’ll hopefully have more information in the next week or so. Watch this space…
We’re very pleased to announce that a very talented group of artists have successfully been granted Arts Council funding for an art project, called ‘Swimming Without Water’ at Moseley Road Baths, in our very own Gala Pool!
The group are anxious to make use of the space, raising awareness of that part of the building and showcasing their own work against the backdrop of the gorgeous Edwardian Pool. Artists Flora Gare, Debbie Akam and Tim Skinner will be working in the Baths and within the local community to create their work. More information on the project will soon appear on their website – http://swimmingwithoutwater.org/
We’ll be keeping you updated on the project. Exciting times!