Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Lib Dems mislead public on Sparkhill Baths

Wednesday is always a hectic day, and this Wednesday will be no different. I have got an advice surgery this morning, visits to residents afterwards who can't make the surgery but need urgent help, kids to pick up, an article for the New Statesman to finish, dinner to cook, and an evening meeting about the future of Sparkhill baths. 

The Save Sparkhill Baths campaign is gathering speed, thanks to very good work being done by local activists. And what is clear is that the public are being misled by the Liberal Democrats. Following pressure from local residents supported by Respect councillors, the Lib Dems promised that £13m had been ‘approved’ and ‘allocated’ for rebuilding the Sparkhill baths at the Hall Green Constituency committee meeting of 22nd December 2009. They then leafleted the area proclaiming 'Lib Dems save Sparkhill Baths!' But the our last meeting on 19th January shocked residents were told that funding had NOT been allocated! Sparkhill baths was not saved after all.

Since then Lib Dem Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, Cllr Mullaney, has even said that turning the pool site into a car park would be a “sensible idea”! As an alternative he is pushing the idea of a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) built pool at Moseley School. I challenged him in yesterday's council meeting about this and he was forced to admit that the money had never been allocated for Sparkhill. Local residents are angry that while Sparkhill, a very deprived area, has been denied the use of its local pool for nearly two years, the Tory/Lib Council have had no compulsion is authorising the spending of millions to refurbish the pool in leafy Harborne, which has not been closed at all.

Saving Sparkhill pool is a critical battle for the residents of Sparkhill and surrounding areas. The dishonesty of the Lib Dems on this issue is a disgrace. I expect there to be fireworks about that tonight.

The meeting is at 6.45pm on Wednesday at Sparkhill Social and Cultural Centre on Stratford Rd, next to the swimming baths.