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Withington Baths Saved – Temporarily

Public baths to remain open until replacement facilities are completed

Published on February 13th 2013.


Withington Baths Saved – Temporarily

MANCHESTER City Council has changed tack on several proposed closures of baths in the city. This has resulted in a stay of execution for Withington, Levenshulme and Miles Platting baths until replacement facilities are built. It's a triumph for popular protest and also the Liberal Democrats who have joined in with the protesters in opposing the plans. 

Everything that follows is the official press release. 

The Council has to address a funding shortfall of £80m over the next two financial years following the government’s financial settlement in which it was handed the biggest percentage cut of any of England’s core cities (the eight largest outside London ), the biggest in Greater Manchester and the largest of any major metropolitan area outside the capital.

Under the proposals, the Council will make a one-off capital investment of £10 million in modern replacement facilities for Chorlton/Withington (to open at Hough End in spring 2015) and Levenshulme (to open spring 2015) alongside an already-funded new pool in Beswick (to open autumn 2014.) This remains the case.

The Withington proposals are the strongest and under the revised proposals, Withington Baths would now remain open until the new pool opens in Hough End in 2015

The original proposals also involved the closure of four current Manchester pools – Broadway, Levenshulme, Miles Platting and Withington – in 2013. All are said to be old and in poor condition and the move would be to try to avoid high ongoing maintenance and running costs.

But during the consultation period, the Council has received proposals about three of the pools - Withington, Levenshulme and Miles Platting.

The proposals are different but all involve keeping the pools open until replacement facilities are in place to promote healthy lifestyles by introducing more targeted programmes aimed at the most in-need community members to run alongside existing programmes.

The Withington proposals are the strongest and under the revised proposals, Withington Baths would now remain open until the new pool opens in Hough End in 2015. Funding would cover running costs but not the significant capital works required to the building.

Officers have also been asked to work with community groups to further develop business plans for Levenshulme and Miles Platting to see if they can also be kept open until replacement facilities are opened in 2015 (Levenshulme) and 2014 (Beswick) respectively.

For Broadway, the Council will continue to consult and explore on proposals to relocate swimming and other activities to alternative sports and leisure provision in north Manchester and Chadderton Leisure Centre.

An amendment has been agreed which approves the budget proposals subject to a change to the consultation proposals for Withington Baths to the effect that pool stays open until the replacement facility at Hough End is opened in 2015. This is based on funding being raised in the local community, failing which it will be underwritten by the use of council cash grants.

Withington Baths ProtestorsWithington Baths Protestors

Councillor Jim Battle, deputy council leader, said: "Our leisure strategy involves replacing old, expensive-to-run and underused pools with new modern facilities which will promote increased use. We believe this is approach will deliver the best services possible for residents, given the financial constraints we face.

 "We remain committed to that strategy but have always said we wanted to listen to the community and work with them where possible to explore ways of keeping those existing facilities until replacements are ready. We recognise the strength of feeling and support for these facilities.

"In Withington, where there is a well-developed business case which should not require extra council funding, we believe the pool can be kept open until the new centre is ready.

"The business cases for Levenshulme and Miles Platting still need further development and we will also work actively with communities in those areas to see if similar solutions can be found.

"We recognise the strength of community feeling in these areas.”

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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

MFebruary 13th 2013.

Well done to the people of Withington. I signed the petition and was on a bus behind the march. It was an impressive gathering for such a cause.

1 Response: Reply To This...
DavidFebruary 13th 2013.

It's also why it's good to have a vibrant local democracy,so the Labour council cannot just do what it likes.

Anne TuckerFebruary 14th 2013.

many congratulations from me too ... I am amazed at the number if people in the photo above, brilliant! We now need to do the same for Fallowfield (and other local) libraries. We had a very successful open day last Saturday in Fallowfield, addressed by the head of libraries, who was questioned passionately by local people. But we all need to keep the pressure up, so such essential services arent seen as ependable (however "regrettably"...) An dont get me started on the state of Platt Fields .....

Kathy CrottyFebruary 14th 2013.

Miles Platting is not an old pool and has years of life left in. residents in Ancoats, City Centre, Miles Platting, Newton heath Moston and Collyhurst will not benefit from the removal of essentially 4 pools (3 in Miles Platting and one in Broadway) to be replaced by one pool in Beswick. the one pool in Harpurhey is always full of children which is great but not great for adults who want to do lane swimming. The reduced facility in Beswick will be the same!!

Simon TurnerFebruary 14th 2013.

The campaign was community based and despite various political groups sniffing around, always put the pool/gym users first.

"A triumph...for the Liberal Democrats"!! They tried to get a political advantage out of this situation and, for example, launched a petition no-one wanted to sign whereas the official campaign got 8000 signatures.

The local voters are fully aware of the irony of local Lib Dems supporting the Coalition cuts to the Northern cities whilst appearing at every save the baths save the library rally. It's actually a bit sick isn't it?

1 Response: Reply To This...
DavidFebruary 14th 2013.

Typical deluded Labour voter.A city with a vibrant local democracy,not one dominated by one party,would be one,where all parties had to listen to and respond to the wishes of its citizens.

AnonymousFebruary 18th 2013.

Great!!

AnonymousFebruary 18th 2013.

Great!!!!!

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