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…