Plans are now being finalised for the rebuild of Sparkhill Pool and Leisure Centre, which closed its doors in 2009 following concerns over asbestos and the steel structure of the building. The facility will include a 25 metre, six lane pool previously used as a training pool for the 2012 Olympics, a learner pool, an 80 station gym, a dance studio, community room and sauna and steam room.
Asbestos removal will start within the next few weeks with completion due by 22nd May. Demolition will commence on 1st July. The facility will be taken on by ‘Places for People Leisure Management’, formerly known as DC Leisure, the company that runs Harborne Pool. This was previously penciled in for January 2016, but we have this week learnt that this has now been set back to 30th September 2016.
The fate of Moseley Road Baths is tied up with the future of the new facility on the Stratford Road. Councillors maintain that swimmers from Balsall Heath will travel to Sparkhill, therefore they intend to close Moseley Road Baths once Sparkhill reopens. We have yet to hear whether the new opening date will result in a reprieve for Moseley Road Baths, or whether Birmingham City Council still intend to close Moseley Road Baths in January 2016.
Friends of Moseley Road Baths have questioned general access and provision for the people and schools of Balsall Heath, transport for schools (especially with more than one coach coming to the site) and the number of cycle places available.
Transport to the new pool is based on a ‘travel plan’ though it is still in draft form in the application on the website. Whilst encouraging the use of public transport, walking and cycling, the travel plan seems devised to disregard the effect that increased car use and parking will have in the vicinity. Clearly, with the difficulty of public transport from Highgate and Balsall Heath to Sparkhill baths, a vast increase in cars to the site must be expected. A traffic impact assessment does not seem to have been carried out and FoMRB have questioned this.
We have also questioned whether women-only sessions in the planned pool can be fully secluded. These sessions have always been an important and growing part of the pool’s programming yet it appears that privacy may not be able to be fully ensured.
The planning application number is 2014/07147/PA and you can find the page online here Online Standard Details and related documents here Northgate DMS :: Document List.