I see that Kirkham Baths has again featured in the paper with another half truth and water muddying diatribe. I think it would be helpful to explain a little bit of history here.

About February last year something went wrong with the electrics of the baths. The insurance comapny were informed and the withdrew the cover as it was too risky. This is on top of the fact that the Council would never put people at risj and since electricity and water do not mix under any circumstance, the decision was taken to close the baths while a repair was affected.

At first the quote to repair was given at over £250,000. The council just did not have that money, although we were looking at ways that we could have found it. This is where it gets muddy. At the same time it was the budget process. The council had savings to make and as happens every year the council officers produce a list on every possible savings and it’s then up to Councillors to say yes or no to what’s one that list. Every year we say no to the pools, but every year were are asked. It’s called democracy and balancing priorities. It’s sensible and it is right to do so.

However, some people put two and two together and whipped up a storm for their own political ends. There was mud put in the water and it proved hard for the general public to believe what was the facts and what was not.

During all the public debate a more detailed evaluation was undertaken of the work required and that estimate came in significantly less. The council did not hesitate to get the pool repaired and re-opened and as an apology for the inconvienance I authorised a weeks free swimming to get users back in the pool.

While the council was aware of the public support to re-open the baths and I am encouraged by that support in the need to maintain rural swimming, the council took the decision to repair the baths and re-open them beacuse we wanted to and because we could.

Since then on several occasions the Conservative group and the Conservative Cabinet have reaffirmed that the level of swim provision be at least maintained in the Fylde.



Simon@wesham.com 681983