A freedom of Information (FOI) request by a protester in a bid to save a swimming pool has revealed councillors’ frustrations with the campaign.
Speaking at the city’s full council meeting on Monday, Nigel Gibson, of the Save Temple Cowley Pool campaign group, read from an email by Cllr Christine Simm, board member for culture and communities.
The email, dated from February 10, 2016, read: “I am sure we are all beyond frustrated by the STCP people’s continued presence at council meetings.”
Mr Gibson then read a further email from council chief executive David Edwards, also acquired through a FOI request, which read: “No doubt there will be an FOI – so let’s make sure that correspondence is clearly marked.” Mr Gibson said it showed an appalling lack of transparency on the part of the council.
The pool closed in December 2014 and faces demolition to make way for housing, having been sold to housing developer, Catalyst, which owns a 999-year lease on the site.
Mr Gibson argued that there was still a need for leisure facilities in the Cowley area, adding: “Labour councillors are not enamoured that we come back to remind you of the folly of your decision.
“But you should remember why we do this. It’s the massive support we still receive whenever we meet the public.”
Mr Gibson received a written response from Cllr Linda Smith, board member for leisure, parks and sport, which stated: “I understand why Temple Cowley residents who used the pool were sad to see it go, and it is true that local residents now have to travel further to swim.
“However, it has been replaced with an up-to-date, first-class facility in nearby Blackbird Leys which has resulted in a dramatic increase in users, a wider leisure offer and a reduction in carbon emissions.”
Fellow campaigner Judith Harley attended the meeting to request further information about the lease held by Catalyst.
A written response from Cllr Price said that the information was publically available via its website.