Claims that decision to close Scartho Baths was made 'without adequate consultation' dismissed by council leader
COUNCIL leader Chris Shaw has hit back at claims that his ruling Labour administration made the decision to close Scartho Baths without adequate consultation.
The Conservative group on North East Lincolnshire Council has issued a statement in which it alleges that the Labour group had "clearly kept information from the public and made decisions without adequate consultation or challenge."
But Councillor Shaw said a number of sports groups and swimming clubs had attended a consultation event on plans to close the pool as far back as November 2009.
He also dismissed Conservative claims that they had "always had concerns over the closure" of the pool as "bunkum", pointing out that the proposal had been approved by Conservative councillors sitting in the Cabinet in 2009 and then again in the Shadow Cabinet in November last year.
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As reported, plans to close Scartho Baths were outlined in a 2008 Leisure Review conducted under the then Conservative-Liberal Democrat administration.
A replacement facility was proposed for Garth Lane as part of a £30 million leisure facilities programme, which also included a new main library, but this was dropped in 2011 by the incoming Labour administration, who deemed it "unfundable". Instead, it put forward a £10 million scheme which will see a new pool and improved facilities at Cromwell Road and a refurbishment for the existing Grimsby Central Library.
Councillor Shaw said: "If the Conservatives have always had concerns, why in 2009 did they not speak out against it?
"They have had ample time to read the reports and to make representations but they have failed to do so. Now, because it has become a matter of public interest, they are trying to mislead the public into thinking that they never supported the closure when they did.
"I would advise Councillor Brookes and his colleagues to be very careful about jumping on bandwagons, because if you slip and miss your footing you can go under the wheels."
Councillor Shaw added that he wanted to "dispel the rumour that there has never been any public consultation", referring to an event in November 2009 at the Innovation Centre on Europarc which was attended by scores of representatives from scores of local sports teams.
When asked if there had been any public consultation since Labour took control in 2011, he said: "We have consulted with the sports clubs. We can't go round knocking on every door in North East Lincolnshire."
Referring to a petition signed by more then 5,500 people opposed to the closure, he added: "This will be discussed at full council and if full council decides not to go ahead with the £10 million revamp then that's fine. But if we keep Scartho pool open then we will have to close Grimsby Leisure Centre."
In its statement, the Conservative Group said it would "continue to fight for the views of the public to be considered and for the decisions taken to be in the public interest."