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
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
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.
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.