Purley Pool to stay open for now
28/01/2015 19:39:00......Posted by Tim Pollard
Following the debate in Council on Monday night, people-power is slowly pushing the Council's Labour administration towards securing the future of Purley pool, which they had lined up for closure from April in the council's draft budget.
The position is now that the pool no longer features as a cut in the 2015/16 budget, papers for which are due out next week. However, the Leader of the Council, Labour's Cllr Tony Newman, continues to be worryingly vague about how long it is reprieved for. He continues to hide behind a suggestion that the dreaded 'elf 'n' safety will cause it to have to be closed.
He also continues to suggest that his administration inherited a backlog of essential maintenance - an allegation which is demonstrably untrue, as the record shows the previous administration investing regularly to maintain the pool.
At the debate, in my capacity as leader of the Opposition, I laid out a four point plan for securing the short, medium and long terms future of the pool complex:
ONE – commitment – this is a stay of execution not a commitment to retain - so we call for the same commitment the Conservatives made four years ago, that Purley Pool stays until a replacement either in Purley or very near is ready
TWO – investment - there must be proper investment of the relatively modest sums needed to ensure this threatened ‘health and safety closure’ is never necessary
THREE – community involvement - we call upon Newman to set up a local steering group including the pool campaigners and local councillors, to ensure all necessary routine maintenance is carried out and to ensure that the facilities maintenance work is properly carried out
FOUR – long-term regeneration – call upon the administration to secure the long term future of leisure in Purley by offering the same level of commitment to Purley residents as they recently have in New Addington, through investment in the regen of Purley centre and commitment to some or all of the cost of a pool for Purley and Coulsdon residents in or near Purley centre.
Sadly point one - proper unequivocal commitment - has not been forthcoming, but we are promised point two - investment - in the budget, and point three - community involvement - through the foundation of a steering group including ward councillors and the Save Purley Pool campaign.
A big thank you is due to the organisers and supporters of the Save Purley Pool camiagn, who have done a fantastic job in mobilising people power. The huge turnout of supporters for the meeting shows the strength of feeling locally and we will keep pressing the administration to secure the longer term future of the site.