The Friends of Moseley Road Baths asked a question to Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, Ian Ward at a full Council meeting. Here is the question with the full written response we received.
Given that monies for the announced £36 million for swimming pools/leisure centres will be coming from prudential borrowing, how much will the council be paying back each year and over what period of time, and why can’t the council prudentially borrow £1m per year for 3 years to match fund a bid to Heritage Lottery to save Moseley Road Baths?
Councillor Ian Ward in reply.
The total investment in the leisure transformation is £36m. However £6m for a new Sparkhill pool is already in the long term financial plan, and there is a minimum of a further £6m from 106 funding and Sport England grants. Therefore the balance within the leisure strategy is £24m funded by prudential borrowing from within the leisure budget, of £1.8m per year. This is only funding for leisure sites, as the future operating model is that that the new and remaining sites, will be run by leisure contractors at no subsidy ( or with a potential return) to the council.
The Council would need to provide £3m of prudential borrowing to match the Heritage Lottery grant of £5m as the project cost is estimated at £8m. Even so, this project only covers the short term work needed to repair the fabric and keeps the smaller pool available. To fully restore all facilities for a long term future would cost a further £20m.
The Leisure transformation plan prioritised the very limited funding available for sports and leisure facilities and this did not extend to Moseley Road baths. The Council’s financial plans therefore include no resources to fund the interest and repayment costs of any prudential borrowing for the Baths.