Scartho Baths closure: Local Government Minister urges council to reconsider plans
THE Government has urged North East Lincolnshire Council to reconsider its controversial plans to close Scartho Baths.
Responding to a Parliamentary debate organised by Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers, Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis said the local authority "should consider the most efficient way" of using the 50-year-old swimming pool.
He said: "Most importantly they (the council) should generate consensus within the communities they serve."
It followed fresh pleas from Grimsby MP Austin Mitchell and Mr Vickers to save the popular leisure facility.
BLINDS & CURTAINS MADE 2 MEASURE WE COVER SCUNTHORPE & GRIMSBY...View details
Have a look at our website and view our fantastic new blinds! then you could book a free home visit were we show you more samples and help you choose your new blinds.www.grimsby-sunblinds.co.uk
Contact: 01472 809887
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
The council plans to replace Scartho Baths with a new pool and leisure centre on the Cromwell Road site, as reported.
Mr Vickers repeated concerns about the consultation process and said it was "irresponsible in the extreme" for NELC to "plough on in these circumstances".
Councillors, he said, should "at least stop and consider alternative proposals".
Mr Mitchell argued that the pool, "unlike the member for the constituency", was "still in good condition".
He said there was an opportunity to provide an Olympic-standard facility "for the whole area".
It came as NELC confirmed it will this week ask for Government cash to provide a diving pool for the new £8.4 million leisure centre.
The plan does not currently include a diving facility because the council cannot afford it. However, it is hoping to secure the £1.5 million it requires from Olympic Legacy funding.
Deputy leader Mick Burnett said: "We are saying we are interested in it, but there's only so much we can do.
"We are interested not only in the new pool; we've just invested another £150,000 in King George V Stadium in light of getting Olympic Legacy funding to refurbish Cleethorpes Leisure Centre changing rooms."
Meanwhile, Councillor Burnett responded to claims that alternative companies were "locked out" of the bidding process for the new centre.
He said: "The council undertook a competitive tendering process to appoint a regeneration partner who would deliver a range of services on behalf of the council, including an architectural service.
"The contract was successfully awarded to Balfour Beatty in July 2010.
"The contract includes the delivery of key strategic projects, one of which has been the development of proposals for the replacement of a range of cultural and leisure facilities.
"Through the regeneration partnership the council commissioned the design work but only after a bench-marking exercise that ensured the professional fees were competitive.
"Balfour Beatty is providing the overall design management and project management services as part of the regeneration partnership contract. This work precludes them from bidding for the construction phase.
"To summarise we have a contractual commitment for the design of the new facility, however as previously noted the finalisation of this design and its ultimate construction will go out to the market and follow European procurement rules."