This week we hit our 7th Anniversary as a campaign group. This comes the same week that the Council have announced their intention to close nine pools across the city. The fact that we’ve been the first port of call for the media, Twitter has been pinging away constantly and we have received so many supportive messages is testament to how far we have come in that time.
Details of the closures
Leisure Centres lined up for the axe are Newtown Pool, Colmers Leisure Centre, Court Road, Erdington Leisure Centre, Moseley Road Swimming Pool, Northfield Pool, Shard End leisure centre, Stechford Cascades and Tiverton Pool in Selly Oak.
Six new pools and leisure centres are due to be built with £36 million of public funds. These will be at Sparkhill, Erdington, Ickneild Port Loop, Northfield, Shard End and Stechford Cascades.
Existing facilities at Wyndley in Sutton Coldfield, Beeches in Great Barr, Fox Hollies in Yardley, and Cocks Moors Woods in Kings Heath will be farmed out to private operators to run under council controls.
This hotchpotch of private and public funding and ownership raises real concerns about accountability, access and most worryingly private companies creaming off profits at the expense of staff and swimmers.
We are bringing December’s meeting forward to:
Thursday 5th December
Anderton Park School Children’s Centre, Dennis Road, Balsall Heath
The venue is wheelchair accessible and on-street parking is available. Access from Anderton Park Road end only
Who should run the building?
Last month we wrote about the possibility of the group entering preliminary discussions with the Council about other models of ownership and management of the building. It is clear that the building has massive untapped potential and that creative thinking is needed to bring currently unused areas of the building into use, and to create new ways of generating income for running and maintenance.
At this month’s meeting we decided to go ahead with talks, although we are still very sceptical about the prospect of any transfer allowing for swimming to be retained in the building. Talks are due to begin early next year, and we would welcome your thoughts on this.