‘Don’t kick Temple Cowley Pools’ future into long grass’ plea to councillors

Nigel Gibson, front, with campaigners

Nigel Gibson, front, with campaigners

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

COUNCIL bosses have been urged not to “kick into the long grass” the future of Temple Cowley Pools after campaigners won an application giving them first chance to buy it.

Residents fighting to keep open the pool – which Oxford City Council wants to sell, potentially for houses to be built on the site – gave councillors a petition calling on them to work together.

It comes after the council this month registered the Temple Road facility as an asset of community value, meaning campaigners will get the first chance to strike a deal rather than it being sold on the open market.

It gives the Save Temple Cowley Pools campaign, headed by Nigel Gibson, six months to raise cash to buy it – but the council said this must match its market value.

Previously a value of £1.5m has been put on the site but the council is no longer giving a figure.

Executive board member for leisure services Mike Rowley said the Labour-run authority should “note the petition and move on”.

He said: “The city council could not have been more helpful to the purposes Mr Gibson is referring to, including agreeing to designate it as a community asset under the Localism Act 2011.

“I know officers have given considerable assistance to the group in preparing their proposal.”

But Green Party group leader Craig Simmons put forward a motion – voted down by the Labour majority – to work with the group to keep the pool.

He said: “It is a very much-loved facility and it is very well used. I get people talking about it to me on the doorstep year round.”

Liberal Democrat Jim Campbell told councillors: “In the end best value for the council is important but that does not always mean the highest cost.

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“We would urge you to look at this with an open mind and not just kick it into the long grass.”

Campaign leader Mr Gibson told this week’s council meeting: “The sale of the Temple Cowley Pools site offers a fantastic opportunity for the council to work with the community to make better use of publicly-owned land.”

He said it would be “an exciting and innovative development, providing an immediate and continuing financial return, and delivering a long-lasting legacy to the community of East Oxford that will energise an area that has seen a gradual decline in services and facilities over the last 20 years”.

The petition – the latest in a series by the group – got 1,587 signatures and all with 1,500 or more must be debated under council rules.

The council is building a replacement pool extension at Blackbird Leys Leisure Centre, Pegasus Road.

Comments (9)

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7:40am Mon 21 Apr 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Still lots of noise...

But no indidation as to how many of the 1587 signatures have handed over their £946 contribution.

Now that they know that someone else is planning to buy the pool at full market value and operate it afterwards, all the council/fusion need to do is to sweat the asset and undertake critical safety work.

It's going to be fascinating to see what happens with the Greens/CPRE though.

They've made such a fuss over the apartments built on a degraded brownfield site in Central Oxford - got to wonder how they will react to 30 apartments being built on a degraded brownfield site that mayl interfere with the views of an Art Deco library and the spire of the County Records and tower of the United Reform Church from the local parks and playing fields.
Still lots of noise... But no indidation as to how many of the 1587 signatures have handed over their £946 contribution. Now that they know that someone else is planning to buy the pool at full market value and operate it afterwards, all the council/fusion need to do is to sweat the asset and undertake critical safety work. It's going to be fascinating to see what happens with the Greens/CPRE though. They've made such a fuss over the apartments built on a degraded brownfield site in Central Oxford - got to wonder how they will react to 30 apartments being built on a degraded brownfield site that mayl interfere with the views of an Art Deco library and the spire of the County Records and tower of the United Reform Church from the local parks and playing fields. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -1

8:04am Mon 21 Apr 14

norton manor says...

as a taxpayer to Oxford City Council I demand that anyone who wants to buy the site pays the full market price for the land. I feel that the Council has an obligation to demand this on behalf of their residents
as a taxpayer to Oxford City Council I demand that anyone who wants to buy the site pays the full market price for the land. I feel that the Council has an obligation to demand this on behalf of their residents norton manor
  • Score: -1

9:11am Mon 21 Apr 14

SaveTCP says...

Trolling again A:O - how about making a positive contribution for once? Recognise what everyone except Labour is saying (Greens, LibDems, Independents, and parties without representation at the moment like the Conservatives) - use the existing facilities for the benefit of the community.

The Temple Cowley area has had the largest increase in population over the last 10 years; all the schools in the area are expanding, and the population is set to continue increasing for the next 10-15 years. Taking away health and fitness facilities is not looking after the community, and not what people want - why is Labour doing this?

The building is structurally sound (according to recent site visits and also the two independent reports commissioned by the Council and kept from the public) and it's the Council signing up to an unnecessary costly deal with Fusion to operate it using our taxpayers money that you should be complaining about. So, yes, let's 'sweat the asset' - by making best use of it to continue delivering services to the community for the next 25 years, which is what it was designed to do and why we (taxpayers) paid for it in the first place in 1987.

And as taxpayers to Oxford City Council we should all be demanding to know why our democratically elected (well, 1 in 8 people actually voted for them) Labour councillors have committed over £13m of our money on what is only a 25m non-Olympic-not-50m-
pool-and-without-flu
mes-or-anything-else
-the-people-at-Black
bird-Leys-said-they-
want-facility when specialist swimming pool contractors can do exactly the same for under £2m.

The Council should be doing everything it can to keep services that people want and need, where they want and need them. In this case, in Temple Cowley.
Trolling again A:O - how about making a positive contribution for once? Recognise what everyone except Labour is saying (Greens, LibDems, Independents, and parties without representation at the moment like the Conservatives) - use the existing facilities for the benefit of the community. The Temple Cowley area has had the largest increase in population over the last 10 years; all the schools in the area are expanding, and the population is set to continue increasing for the next 10-15 years. Taking away health and fitness facilities is not looking after the community, and not what people want - why is Labour doing this? The building is structurally sound (according to recent site visits and also the two independent reports commissioned by the Council and kept from the public) and it's the Council signing up to an unnecessary costly deal with Fusion to operate it using our taxpayers money that you should be complaining about. So, yes, let's 'sweat the asset' - by making best use of it to continue delivering services to the community for the next 25 years, which is what it was designed to do and why we (taxpayers) paid for it in the first place in 1987. And as taxpayers to Oxford City Council we should all be demanding to know why our democratically elected (well, 1 in 8 people actually voted for them) Labour councillors have committed over £13m of our money on what is only a 25m non-Olympic-not-50m- pool-and-without-flu mes-or-anything-else -the-people-at-Black bird-Leys-said-they- want-facility when specialist swimming pool contractors can do exactly the same for under £2m. The Council should be doing everything it can to keep services that people want and need, where they want and need them. In this case, in Temple Cowley. SaveTCP
  • Score: 1

1:17pm Mon 21 Apr 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

So despite securing the AOCV, SaveTCP continue to be focussed on the past...

Why not publish everything exciting that is happening with your plans for your £1.5M bid to purchase the site, refurbish the pool and build out 30 new apartments.

Tell us which firm you are partnering with, or at least reassure Oxford Stadium supporters that you aren't partnering with Galliard.

Explain your plans for raising the £1.5M... Will it be donations? Will it be a cooperative? Will there be a local share issue?

How about the corporate structure... How will the board be elected? Will current SaveTCP board members have "golden shares"?

SaveTCP is traditionally very much an anti-Labour organisation (I'd never vote for a socialist myself). Will Labour party members be permitted to use the new pool?

Without clarity and open-ness on the part of SaveTCP on these matters, I have serious doubts that the AOCV is anything more than a 24 week and counting vexation.
So despite securing the AOCV, SaveTCP continue to be focussed on the past... Why not publish everything exciting that is happening with your plans for your £1.5M bid to purchase the site, refurbish the pool and build out 30 new apartments. Tell us which firm you are partnering with, or at least reassure Oxford Stadium supporters that you aren't partnering with Galliard. Explain your plans for raising the £1.5M... Will it be donations? Will it be a cooperative? Will there be a local share issue? How about the corporate structure... How will the board be elected? Will current SaveTCP board members have "golden shares"? SaveTCP is traditionally very much an anti-Labour organisation (I'd never vote for a socialist myself). Will Labour party members be permitted to use the new pool? Without clarity and open-ness on the part of SaveTCP on these matters, I have serious doubts that the AOCV is anything more than a 24 week and counting vexation. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

3:33pm Mon 21 Apr 14

SaveTCP says...

Trolls, trolls trolls :-)
As we are sure A:O is aware, since he is in nodding terms with at least one of the Campaign members, delivering services for the community is the focus for the next 6 months.

Perhaps if the Labour council had not wasted over £13m of our taxpayers money on their white elephant then more would be available for vital services - the consequences are now, not in the past, and 'moving on', as Cllr Rowley would have it, is glossing over mistakes that should never have happened. Voters should think about that on 22nd May.

Back in the real world, the Save TCP Campaign has a commitment to the community, and that means involving everyone with an interest, not just the very few reading this part of the internet.

Sorry to prevent A:O from having even more fun on these messageboards than he does at the moment, but he'll have to come to one of the Campaign's open meetings to hear more, as will everyone else...
Trolls, trolls trolls :-) As we are sure A:O is aware, since he is in nodding terms with at least one of the Campaign members, delivering services for the community is the focus for the next 6 months. Perhaps if the Labour council had not wasted over £13m of our taxpayers money on their white elephant then more would be available for vital services - the consequences are now, not in the past, and 'moving on', as Cllr Rowley would have it, is glossing over mistakes that should never have happened. Voters should think about that on 22nd May. Back in the real world, the Save TCP Campaign has a commitment to the community, and that means involving everyone with an interest, not just the very few reading this part of the internet. Sorry to prevent A:O from having even more fun on these messageboards than he does at the moment, but he'll have to come to one of the Campaign's open meetings to hear more, as will everyone else... SaveTCP
  • Score: 1

5:44pm Mon 21 Apr 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

SaveTCP wrote:
Trolls, trolls trolls :-)
As we are sure A:O is aware, since he is in nodding terms with at least one of the Campaign members, delivering services for the community is the focus for the next 6 months.

Perhaps if the Labour council had not wasted over £13m of our taxpayers money on their white elephant then more would be available for vital services - the consequences are now, not in the past, and 'moving on', as Cllr Rowley would have it, is glossing over mistakes that should never have happened. Voters should think about that on 22nd May.

Back in the real world, the Save TCP Campaign has a commitment to the community, and that means involving everyone with an interest, not just the very few reading this part of the internet.

Sorry to prevent A:O from having even more fun on these messageboards than he does at the moment, but he'll have to come to one of the Campaign's open meetings to hear more, as will everyone else...
To be fair. SaveTCP don't actually deliver services to the community. That's the role of Fusion

Although ,once you've bought the centre, you will be delivering services to the local community.

Just a shame you are so secretive about the plans!

Still, will keep an eye out for you registering a company and look out for you publishing the investment prospectus with interest.
[quote][p][bold]SaveTCP[/bold] wrote: Trolls, trolls trolls :-) As we are sure A:O is aware, since he is in nodding terms with at least one of the Campaign members, delivering services for the community is the focus for the next 6 months. Perhaps if the Labour council had not wasted over £13m of our taxpayers money on their white elephant then more would be available for vital services - the consequences are now, not in the past, and 'moving on', as Cllr Rowley would have it, is glossing over mistakes that should never have happened. Voters should think about that on 22nd May. Back in the real world, the Save TCP Campaign has a commitment to the community, and that means involving everyone with an interest, not just the very few reading this part of the internet. Sorry to prevent A:O from having even more fun on these messageboards than he does at the moment, but he'll have to come to one of the Campaign's open meetings to hear more, as will everyone else...[/p][/quote]To be fair. SaveTCP don't actually deliver services to the community. That's the role of Fusion Although ,once you've bought the centre, you will be delivering services to the local community. Just a shame you are so secretive about the plans! Still, will keep an eye out for you registering a company and look out for you publishing the investment prospectus with interest. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -1

7:19pm Mon 21 Apr 14

SaveTCP says...

Push, push, push as ever, A:O.

You are clearly not up to date - better get yourself a better Companies House mole...

Investment prospectus? The SaveTCP Campaign was already competing with commercial developers as part of the original sales process (as advertised by the Council through this very organ, and breaching their own confidentiality rules), so an appropriate business plan was already in place; the Right to Bid process enables whoever is preparing the bid to engage far more widely with the community, explore other options, discuss them with the Council and put forward a proposal that offers best value for the people of Oxford.
Push, push, push as ever, A:O. You are clearly not up to date - better get yourself a better Companies House mole... Investment prospectus? The SaveTCP Campaign was already competing with commercial developers as part of the original sales process (as advertised by the Council through this very organ, and breaching their own confidentiality rules), so an appropriate business plan was already in place; the Right to Bid process enables whoever is preparing the bid to engage far more widely with the community, explore other options, discuss them with the Council and put forward a proposal that offers best value for the people of Oxford. SaveTCP
  • Score: 1

10:14pm Mon 21 Apr 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

See, pushing gets the answers...

So you've now confirmed you've created a commercial vehicle for acquiring the assets from the council. That wasn't too hard was it?

At your invitatioin, I'll take a look at companies house and download the documents when I'm back from holiday later in the week.

All you need to do now to help engage the community is to publish your meeting videos on Youtube. Be more accessible than the council you criticise for not allowing you to record meetings.

A prospectus is the formal document for potential investors...
See, pushing gets the answers... So you've now confirmed you've created a commercial vehicle for acquiring the assets from the council. That wasn't too hard was it? At your invitatioin, I'll take a look at companies house and download the documents when I'm back from holiday later in the week. All you need to do now to help engage the community is to publish your meeting videos on Youtube. Be more accessible than the council you criticise for not allowing you to record meetings. A prospectus is the formal document for potential investors... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 1

10:27pm Mon 21 Apr 14

SaveTCP says...

All answers in public domain, you only had to ask politely. Oh, you didn't.

Videos? No problem in principle - do you have the technology we can use? Bring it to the meeting. Of course, people who are not elected to public office, and are not responsible for spending/wasting taxpayers money, may object to being filmed, as is right and proper, at the Campaign meetings.

But certainly for our community consultation meetings, why not?!
All answers in public domain, you only had to ask politely. Oh, you didn't. Videos? No problem in principle - do you have the technology we can use? Bring it to the meeting. Of course, people who are not elected to public office, and are not responsible for spending/wasting taxpayers money, may object to being filmed, as is right and proper, at the Campaign meetings. But certainly for our community consultation meetings, why not?! SaveTCP
  • Score: 1

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