On Monday 19th February about 100 people protested outside the Council House to demonstrate against the possible closure of the Victoria Baths & Leisure Centre. The demo was noisy and enthusiastic, well assisted by children from the William Booth Primary School who kept up a chant of "Save our swimming pool". They all use the facility regularly.
A number of the protesters then wanted access to the council meeting. Initially, they were told they couldn't and there were some heated exchanges in the Council House Lobby. Then there was only facility for 20 of their number. So the option of selecting 20, or a rotation of 20 folks at a time for a period was offered. Demonstrators then pointed out that there could be a third option, and that would be to hold the meeting in a larger room!! What a good idea. There was a widespread suspicion that restricting space was a ploy to minimise their effect. Discussion were had backstage, and the council committee was then moved to the main chamber. All present thus were able to fit into the public gallery.
Coun David Trimble [culture, leisure, and community] presented the report to recommend closure of the facilities supported by Councillor Jon Collins, Leader of the Labour group. Essentially, the city's case is that the building is well past its 'sell by' date [being over 150 years old], and that it is a case of spending increasingly larger amounts of cash on the upkeep of the building.
The principle argument against were that its closure means that the entire area on the eastside of the city would then be devoid of any such facility. Sneinton and the whole of the surrounding areas are considered to be some of the most disadvantaged in the city and have the associated health issues of such a deprived area. Really, it seems that the suggested closure sits ill with the notion of facilities for exercise and health living. People also say that the baths are really part of the 'community infrastructure' and that their loss is another blow for the areas identity and surrounding businesses.
Within the council debate, Liberal Democrat Coun Tony Sutton was the only one to vote and speak against the proposals. He pointed out that the plans first published in 2004 recommended that the centre be re-developed as part of the regeneration of the 'eastside zone'. Not just demolition was being considered. Coun Sutton said not much had been heard since then and then suddenly consultation has to be conducted within a month! He said he wondered if this was because there were already plans to sell the land? This got loud cheers for those in the public gallery, clearly a widespread suspicion. The suggestion was denied. Then, when he asked about the how the criteria would be assessed in the consultation procedure differing accounts were given. Those in the gallery also noticed this!
Just recently on the 8th February 2008 Nottingham City Council announced their proposal to close the Victoria Leisure Centre in Nottingham. They plan to make a final decision about its fate at the next executive board meeting of the council on 18 March 2008.
If you’re concerned, join the campaign to stop the closure of Victoria Leisure Centre! Visit the campaign website at http://www.savevictoriabaths.org.uk to sign the petition, download flyers, join the mailing and find other ways to get involved to get involved.
On Saturday 1 March 2008 at 11.30am in Market Square. People will congregate outside the Council House in Market Square to march to the Victoria Leisure Centre, where a public meeting will be held.
Please download and print the flyer for the next demo at:
Talk to the councillors:
Victoria Leisure Centre is in St Ann’s ward. There are three councillors for this ward who are Jon Collins (Labour), Dave Liversidge (Labour) and Sue Johnson (Labour). They hold drop-in surgeries every week to discuss issues with local residents. Please attend one of these surgeries and let them know your views on the council's plans to close Victoria Leisure Centre. St Ann’s ward surgeries are held at:
St Ann’s Advice Centre, Neighbourhood Centre, Robin Hood Chase
Every Tuesday, 10.00am - 11.00am
St Ann's Library, Robin Hood Chase
Every Wednesday, 6.00pm - 7.00pm
Carlton Road Library
2nd and 4th Saturday of every month, 10.00am -11.00am
Or you can call the councillors directly on:
Jon Collins: 0115 915 5624 or 07507 650 101
Dave Liversidge 0115 915 5038 or 0115 915 5638
Sue Johnson: 07971 026 907
The online petition is now up and running. Please sign it: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/savevicbaths
Also check out the latest info on the campaign website: http://www.savevictoriabaths.org.uk
Nottingham City Council Info about leisure centres at: http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/leisurecentres
Closure of Victoria Leisure Centre in 2008:
Council asking for your views here: http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/www/vlc/vlc.htm
City Council intends to Close popular leisure facility
Council propose to shut Victoria Baths, Sneinton
Photographer - Media: One Eye on the Road. Nottingham. UK
Member of the National Union of Journalists [No: 014345]
"It is not enough to curse the darkness.
It is also necessary to light a lamp!!"