Moseley Road baths to close for swimming in 2015
Moseley Road baths to close for swimming in 2015?
I’m afraid I have some depressing news about the future of Moseley Road baths. The new Labour administration running Birmingham City Council have abandoned the £8million restoration proposal for the baths, plus have indicated an intention to close the building to swimming in 2015 when the new Sparkhill baths are rebuilt and re-opened.
As you may be aware, during my 8 years as Councillor, I worked hard to keep these baths open despite the crumbling nature of the building. Using precious little Council resources, we had found the money (£50,000) to pull together a Heritage Lottery bid for £5million, with the addition of £3million from the Council’s 2015 capital budget to be used as match funding. This £8million restoration would have secured the future of the building for 25years plus and allowed swimming to continue in Pool 2. To re-open Pool 1 for swimming would have been phase 2 of the long term restoration.
The restoration was timed to start in 2015, since this would coincide with the re-opening of the new Sparkhill baths. Phase 1 of the restoration of Moseley Road baths would require the building to be closed to the public for up to two years and it wouldn’t make sense to do this while Sparkhill baths was still closed
By December 2012, the Heritage Lottery bid was complete and just needed a stamp putting on it and sticking in the post. The new Labour administration decided instead not to do this – indeed they had hoped nobody would notice, but luckily the Friends of Moseley Road baths have been keeping a close eye on its progress through the Council machinery and did notice.
Last week, the representatives of the Friends of Moseley Road baths met with Councillors (Deputy Leader Cllr Ward, Moseley and Kings Heath Councillor Lisa Trickett, Sparkbrook Councillor Tony Kennedy and Sparkbrook Councillor Victoria Quinn) and Council officers.
The Friends group have produced a summary at http://www.friendsofmrb.co.uk/2013/01/council-announce-intention-to-close-baths-for-swimming/
At the meeting, the Friends representatives were told that once Sparkhill baths re-opened, swimming at Moseley Road baths would most likely stop and an alternative use found for the building, most likely not in Council ownership. Swimming may stop sooner if either the boilers break down or part of the building comes unsafe.
I would like to thank the Friends of Moseley Road baths for their continuing vigilance and campaign to save Moseley Road baths. It is a shame that having come so close to saving these historic swimming baths for future generations, a handful of politicians have completely scuppered them.