Over 100 people packed into the Sparkhill Cultural Centre last night to discuss the future of Sparkhill baths. As expected, it was a lively event. Residents were angry that the pool has been shut for nearly two years. They were very concerned about any talk of a PFI option. And they became even more vociferous in their opposition when Cllr Mullaney revealed that it would be 2013 before any PFI option could be completed. As one resident said to loud applause: ‘We want a community pool run by the community and not private shareholders’. When put to a vote not a single person in the room voted for the PFI option.
Cllr Mullany claimed that the council was legally obligated to put all possible options out to public consultation. This was contested by myself and local MP Roger Godsiff. But even if what he says turns out to be true, I argued there is no reason that we cannot set a timetable for such consultation. It could be conducted within an eight week period or less. The feeling of the meeting was that the claim about consultation was a ruse, designed to drag the issue past the general election so as not to undermine the chances of Lib Dem Hall Green general election candidate Jerry Evans.
If that is their intention, and I believe it to be, I can tell you now; it won’t work.