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Rare move urges rethink on pools closure plan
A committee hopes to force a re-think on controversial Council proposals to close four swimming pools and open four new ones in different places.
In a rare move, a scrutiny committee concerned about the lack of crucial detail in the plans has demanded the matter be discussed by the full Council.
But Councillor Andrew Thornton, who unveiled the plans, has hit back, saying the proposals were at a very early stage.
He said it had been the Executive’s decision to press on and request further details that the scrutiny committee had taken issue with in the first place.
The Council’s Regeneration and Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee met on Thursday to discuss their concerns over the pools plan.
The cross-party committee unanimously agreed to refer the matter to a meeting of the full Council – a move which the committee’s chairman, Councillor Andrew Mallinson, said he had never seen before in his 13 years on the Council.
There, all councillors will debate the matter before making their recommendations to the decision-making Executive.
The full Council cannot throw out the plans, but their recommendations hold more weight than those simply made by the scrutiny committee, Coun Mallinson (Con) said.
He said he hoped it would force a rethink on the plans as a whole.
Coun Mallinson said crucial details were missing from the proposal, which had left the scrutiny committee wondering why it had been given an initial green light by the Executive last month.
He said: “It was quoted as £7 million in backlog, but there was no breakdown. Was it 90 per cent at Richard Dunn and ten per cent at the others? There was just no financial information.”
But Coun Thornton said: “I don’t think that is a valid reason at all, because what we had at Executive was an outline business case that we would like them to work on in more detail.
“It was an outline case, suggesting a strategic direction of travel we should pursue.”
Jag Picknett, who spoke on behalf of the Bingley campaigners, said afterwards: “I’m definitely more hopeful following yesterday’s meeting.
“There’s definitely a mood of optimism.”
Dr Picknett said there were also active campaigns going on to save Queensbury and Bowling pools, which she had mentioned to the committee.
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