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"EXPLAIN YOURSELF" CALL TO MULLANEY AFTER POOL LEAK

01-02-2010

Sparkhill Baths

Campaigners fighting for the reopening of Sparkhill Baths in Birmingham are calling on the Cabinet Member for Sport Martin Mullaney to explain himself at a public meeting on Wednesday after it emerged on The Stirrer that the Council is considering a private finance initiative for the scheme. Mullaney has withdrawn after apparently promising to attend.

We revealed at the weekend that a firm with expertise in running public baths has approached the local authority with an offer to rebuild Sparkhill for just £3m.

That would free up the cash to allow Cllr Mullaney to achieve a second priority – the reopening of the gala pool at Moseley Road baths.

Although this might appear to be a “win win” situation, supporters of both Moseley Road and Sparkhill have given a lukewarm reception to the plan.

Wednesday’s meeting of the Sparkhill Save Our Swimming group would appear to give Mullaney a perfect chance to win over the doubters, but he has reversed a decision to appear, blaming the organisation for leaking the story.

Mullaney has sent them an email saying, “In light of the Stirrer article, there is nothing I can add on Wednesday, which isn't already in the public domain.

“What I am trying to do now is arrange a meeting with Pulse Fitness...and to finalise the details of this option. Once I have finalised this option, then that would be a suitable time for a meeting with the Friends group.”

Save Our Swimming Chair Helen Coulthard has responded by urging him to reconsider his refusal to make an appearance.

She said: “I am a bit confused to say the least. I haven't contacted the media about your three options for 're-building Sparkhill baths'.

“Adrian Goldberg from The Stirrer contacted me, saying he had talked to you about your plans. I in return gave him some comments from my mobile phone.

"I'm not sure you can claim that posting this information on The Stirrer message board on page 9 of long thread about Birmingham swimming pools adequately constitutes the public domain.”

She added: “We have publicised the meeting to engage a wide range of local people. I hope you reconsider your decision not to attend the meeting on Wednesday.”

The meeting is at 6.45pm on Wednesday at Sparkhill Social and Cultural Centre on Stratford Rd, next to the swimming baths.

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