Saturday, July 18, 2009

update on Sparkhill baths and Moseley Road baths

Since July 2008, the Sparkhill swimming baths have been closed. As of June 2009, the gym and sauna have been closed.

First of all an explanation as to why Sparkhill baths are permanently closed:

Sparkhill baths were opened in 1931. Looking at its structure it appears to have been first erected as a steel skeleton, with concrete,bricks and roof materials used as infill. The vertical parts of the skeleton were embedded in glazed bricks.

At somepoint in the 1970s, the very attractive barrel vaulted ceiling in the baths were covered by a suspended ceiling – I can only assume this was done to save on heating costs. The glazed brickwork below this ceiling was covered in plaster..

Last July, one of the tiles in the suspended ceiling fell off into the 30metre pool. Tests on the tile revealed it to contain asbestos. Since, the tile could not be easily put back into the ceiling, the decision was then taken to strip the building of any asbestos. The stripping of the asbestos not only revealed the original Art Deco decorations, but also significant cracking in the building brickwork. Further examination work was then done to understand what was causing the cracking.

These have revealed that chlorine has soaked through the brickwork and heavily corroded the vertical steel struts which take the weight of the roof. The vertical steel struts have rusted to such an extentant that we can not guarantee the structural safety of the building during a heavy snowfall or high winds.

What next?

We now have two options as to the way forward with these baths – restoration or rebuild. I am informed that rebuilding is the cheaper option. The reason the restoration work costs so much is that the floors on the main pool also need replacing; embedded steel rods in the floor have corroded and cracked the surrounding concrete floor plate in numerous places.

Taking all of this into account, it was decided at the Council Cabinet meeting on Monday 13th July, to agree to kickstart the process of rebuilding Sparkhill baths. The replacement pool will be 25metres long, as is standard for all modern baths.

Over the Summer, a new Sparkhill baths will be designed and a business case put together to financially support this rebuild. It is hope to put an outline of a business case to Cabinet in September. The present estimated date for re-opening Sparkhill baths is now early 2012 and the estimated cost of replacement is between £10million and £12million.
Moseley Road baths
At the Council Cabinet meeting on Monday 13th July, it was also agreed to investigate for implications (cost and logistics) of re-opening Pool 1 in Moseley Road baths.
Pool 1 is the larger of the two pools in this building and has been closed since October 2004.
The proposal is to look at restoration of this pool and nothing else in the building. According to the Historic Conservation Survey that was published in January 2007, the cost of restoring Pool 1 would be between £1million and £2million. This restoration would include the following:
a) remove the spectator gallery and rebuild to original design.
b) cut away sections of the flooring around the pool that is cracked and replace with like
c) repair or replace the terracotta sections on the windows at either end of the pool.
d) replace the longtudinal steel beams in the ceiling.
e) repair roof
f) regrout the pool walls.
There are logistical issues that need to be taken into account; namely can this work be done while Pool 2 is operating. If the entire building needs to be closed, then work will not be able to begin until Sparkhill is rebuilt.
It is hoped to have an outline of a business case to fund this work in September.

Councillor update on Planning Applications of importance in Moseley & Kings Heath Ward – Saturday 18th July 2009

Below is my own personal list of planning applications that I am keeping an eye on, due to residents raising concerns with me or the applications clearly being contentious.

Drawings and further details on each of these planning application is available on-line at

The planning applications

S/05886/08/LDE - 7a Park Hill, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8DU - Certificate of Lawfulness for existing use of the property as a haulage yard in excess of 10 years – Refused - Decision date 17/07/2009

S/00036/09/FUL - 80 Russell Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8NH - Erection of two storey and single storey rear extensions and single storey side extension. - Approve – Conditions. Decision date - 04/06/2009

S/00886/09/FUL - 31 Wake Green Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B31 9HF - Reconstruction of front drive & boundary walls, erection of shed to rear, internal alterations & roof lights - Under consideration

S/06306/08/FUL - 37 Balaclava Road, (Land to side), Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 7SG - Erection of 1no. semi-detached dwellinghouse - Approve – Conditions. Decision date - 11/06/2009

S/01805/09/FUL - 57 Sandford Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9DX - Erection of conservatory and forward porch extension - Refused. Decision date - 02/07/2009

S/01758/09/ADV - 120 Alcester Road, Birmingham, B13 8EE - Display of non illuminated advert to existing hoarding - Withdrawn. Decision date - 01/07/2009

S/01950/09/FUL - 153A Russell Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8RR - Change of use from 5 no, flats to a single dwellinghouse - Approve – Conditions. Decision date - 03/07/2009

S/02128/09/OUT - 21b Augusta Road, land adjacent to, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8AE -

Outline application for erection of 4 no. detached dwelling houses, and access. All other matters reserved. – Withdrawn. Decision date - 30/06/2009

S/01883/09/FUL - 153 High Street, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 7DL - Installation of new shopfront. - Approve – Conditions. Decision date - 08/07/2009

S/02605/09/FUL - 91 Alcester Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8EB - Change of use of vacant office (Use class A2) to day nursery (use class D1) - Under consideration

S/02863/09/FUL - 151 Russell Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8RS - Erection of two storey and single storey side extension - Under consideration

S/02937/09/FUL - 42 Poplar Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 7AD - Change of use from offices to restaurant with ancillary takeaway, erection of single storey rear/side extension - Under consideration