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Part of meeting on Bingley Pool to be held in private
Campaigners against plans to shut Bingley’s swimming pool are angry that top councillors will partially meet in private to discuss the early-stage proposals next week.
Chairman of the town’s chamber of trade, Howard Martin, had hoped to go to Tuesday’s meeting when Bradford Council’s Executive members will decide whether to move forward the suggestion to close pools in Bingley, Queensbury and Bowling and the Richard Dunn Sports Centre.
But debates about the Facilities Investment Plan will be held in private under Local Government Act rules, because the appendix contains commercially-sensitive information.
Ward councillors have also queried why the full discussion cannot be heard in public.
The huge shake-up would lead to the building of a city centre sports facility and three community swimming pools in other areas, not yet revealed.
The Council yesterday stressed that there will be opportunities for people to have their say.
Coun Andrew Thornton, the Council’s executive member for the environment, said: “The report going to Executive on Tuesday outlines proposals for a strategic investment in the district’s sports facilities over the coming years. It is asking approval for detailed planning work to begin and for consultation to start, not to end.
“To be absolutely clear, this proposal is about how we replace existing outdated and costly pools with high-quality, affordable facilities that have a sustainable long-term future. The proposal outlines how we can achieve this and not have to close any facilities until new ones are up and running.”
Mr Martin said everyone he had spoken to had been shocked by the proposal.
“They’ve kept it so quiet. And they’ve done that deliberately,” he said. “They kept it from local councillors, which is just wrong.”
Councillor David Heseltine (Con) said: “Deals done in what used to be smoke-filled darkened rooms is undemocratic, unjust, unacceptable in today’s society. Without access to the detailed proposals how can we all make a valued judgement?”
Coun Mark Shaw (Con) said the decision was “underhand” and an attempt to stifle opposition.
However, Coun Thornton said the Council is keen to hear everyone’s opinion.
“The recommendations of the report are an outline business case based on a piece of work undertaken with Sport England which looks at where people live and where existing pools are located,” he said.
“If Executive gives the go ahead for detailed work to start then a wide range of consultations can begin.”
Comments can be sent to: The Director of Environment and Sport, Jacobs Well, Bradford BD1 5RW.
- A community campaign is under way to collect petition signatures against Bingley Pool’s closure. Volunteers will be in the 5Rise shopping centre today and tomorrow from 10am to 3pm. The petition can also be supported online at http://www.bingleycivictrust.org/pool-petition
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