As the six-week school summer holidays start a group of frustrated parents and children descended on Moseley Road Baths in Balsall Heath to complain about the ongoing closure of their favourite pool.
The Baths shut for essential repairs at Christmas for what Birmingham City Council initially claimed would be just six weeks. More than six months later there is still no sign of the building reopening – with the Council acknowledging that it will take another nine weeks for additional maintenance work to be carried out. This leaves local people without a public pool – a situation exacerbated by the long-term closure of nearby Sparkhill Baths.
Around twenty Moseley Road Baths regulars attended Monday’s demonstration, organised by the Friends of Moseley Road Baths group. Jenny Wale, who came along with her daughters Millie (aged 9) and Sadie (11) said, “My children have nowhere to swim locally and because of the closure we have to drive several miles to our nearest pool. They’re missing out on something they love.”
David Pratt from Moseley Shoals swimming club was another demonstrator, “We are currently using Small Heath Leisure Centre to swim but we’d love to have our local baths back operating again.” The club have also tried using Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre at Alcester Lanes End but found it unsuitable for their requirements, being more of a leisure pool.
Friends’ Secretary Rachel Gillies remarked, “The school holidays have just begun, the weather’s been getting warmer and local children are desperate to come and swim at their local pool. It’s crucial that the remaining building and maintenance work starts as soon as possible so that this valuable and well-loved community facility can re-open and be enjoyed by all.”
Although work to replace the lintel above a door in the swimming pool – the initial reason for the pool’s closure – has now been completed, Birmingham City Council’s Urban Design team are insisting on the replacement of temporary scaffolding in the basement. An asbestos survey of this area must also be carried out. Negotiations between contractors and the Council over the costs and details of this work have been ongoing for several weeks. On Monday, Councillor Martin Mullaney – Chairman of Leisure, Sport and Culture – stated that it would be late September at the earliest before Moseley Road Baths re-opened.