Scartho Baths closure: MPs Austin Mitchell and Martin Vickers to make new plea to council
LOCAL MPs Austin Mitchell and Martin Vickers will today make a fresh plea for the council to reconsider its decision to close Scartho Baths.
They are due to speak in an adjournment debate on the subject in Westminster Hall this afternoon, which will be attended by sports minister Hugh Robertson.
They will be making the case for refurbishing the existing Scartho Road facility and also asking if Olympic Legacy funding can be made available to support such a scheme.
Both MPs backed the campaign to save the 50-year-old swimming pool after North East Lincolnshire Council announced it would be replaced by a brand new pool and leisure centre on the Cromwell Road site.
Even after the council confirmed the closure last month, Mr Mitchell encouraged protesters to fight on, while Mr Vickers urged the council to put the brakes on the project so it could bid for Olympic Legacy cash.
The council has always maintained that it will consider adding a diving facility to the new pool if government funding is forthcoming.
However, Mr Vickers said that by "rushing ahead" with the scheme, the council was effectively shutting the door to that possibility.
Speaking yesterday, Mr Vickers, who called the debate, said: "Although the minister has no actual responsibility for the decision he can give the government perspective on the importance of sports facilities locally.
"It's really an opportunity for us to urge the council yet again to stop, reconsider and look at the other options that are available. Bearing in mind that it would seem public opinion is against what is proposed and that the council is quite reasonably saying to the government that it has got a bad financial settlement, is it really advisable to be spending £8 million on a facility when the majority of the electorate think it would be far better to spend £2 or £3 million upgrading the existing facility?"
Mr Vickers said there would also be opportunity to ask the minister if Olympic Legacy funding would be available, adding: "I have already discussed that with the sports minister and I do know contact has been made between the council and the government."
Great Grimsby MP Mr Mitchell, pictured, said: "We are going to relay the argument that the council should try to see if we can do the whole thing more effectively and more cheaply. I'm not convinced yet that it is impossible to keep Scartho Baths.
"There is an Olympic Legacy fund and we want to try to tap into that to ease the pressure on the local authority and the minister will be able to tell us what help government can provide."