Thursday, December 30, 2010

Update on Moseley Road baths

Rumours are circulating that the historic Moseley Road baths are on the verge of closing. I hope I can explain the source of these rumours and also allay them.

In late November, the Council engineers expressed concern about the structural safety of the fire exit door in Pool 2 – Pool 2 is the present operating pool. The lintel (a lintel is the horizontal beam above any door or window, that carries the weight of the wall above ) of this fire exit is badly corroded, due to the chlorine in the pool, such that it can no longer carry the weight of the wall above.

Temporary scaffolding was inserted a month ago to carry the weight of the lintel, whilst a structural survey was carried out. I was given the results of the structural survey last Wednesday (22nd December).

The structural analysis shows that the metal lintel needs replacing and that the temporary scaffolding should be replaced with a permanent solution during January. The cost of replacing the metal lintel is £75k.

Working with the Acting Director for Constituencies, between us we managed to find the required £75k. However, we didn’t have time before the Christmas break to put together a business case to Finance justifying the release of this money – we will do this once all the Council officers come back next week after the Christmas break.

In addition to this, during November, in my role as Cabinet member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, I showed members of the regional Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) around Moseley Road baths. The restoration of these baths is a project that the HLF are particularly interested in, with the potential for the HLF to fund up to 90% of the work......although can I add the caveat, that to justify funding up to 90% the business case has to be particularly strong.

Our meeting with the HLF was very positive and they have asked us to look at ways we could phase the restoration, within an overall master plan and business case. By phasing the work we would only apply for small chunks of money over a number of years, which the HLF could accommodate within their budget.

Once we have resolved the issue of the fire exit in the coming weeks, I will begin work to look at ways of phasing our HLF bids for a Moseley Road baths restoration project.


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