Business bid to save Pools site

PROPOSAL: Nigel Gibson

PROPOSAL: Nigel Gibson

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

CAMPAIGNERS in Oxford say they have come up with a viable business plan to save a threatened leisure centre.

Oxford City Council is preparing to sell the Temple Cowley Pools site for housing once its new multi-million pound complex in Blackbird Leys is complete later this year.

But Save Temple Cowley Pools says it has a viable plan to keep the centre open.

Campaigner Nigel Gibson has told the Oxford Mail the group is preparing a bid for the site alongside a developer and housing association.

He refused to say who was involved with the bid for commercial reasons, but added: “Our calculations show that the whole thing is totally viable.”

The city council has previously said it wants £1.5m for the 1.3 acre site in Temple Road, Cowley.

The campaign group’s bid will involve the building of 30 flats around the centre.

Mr Gibson said: “What we are looking at is doing the necessary refurbishment to the pool to bring it back as that will bring in a continuous income.”

And he said the group would also offer the city council a slice of the profits, adding: “We don’t have any interest in making a huge profit in what we are doing. This is a community-led bid for the benefit of the community.

“And a way of benefiting from it is to make sure the public purse will get some return on that.

“Our view is this is not for a private group to make a profit, it is for the community to benefit from.”

The deadline for commercial bids for the site was Wednesday but Oxford City Council has extended it by a week.

Council spokeswoman Louisa Dean said the deadline had been relaxed to help the group.

She said: “We have agreed an extension to allow the community group who are preparing a bid to purchase the site, to be able to make a compliant submission.

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“The deadline has been extended by one week to assist them.”

Comments (4)

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6:12am Sun 30 Mar 14

Myron Blatz says...

According to one bloke I met in an Oxford pub last year, the whole Temple Cowley issue was simply a ploy by City Council to get a fancy new pool for Blackbird Leys - the 'showcase social housing jewel in Labour's portfolio of disasters like that Westgate Centre.' He could be right, but it's always heartwarming to see City Council now backtracking and apparently being happy to sell-on what had become an ongoing maintenance disaster over decades, to a consortium which wants to do what City Council should have done all along - build flats and refurbish the pool and sports facilities. Mind you, City has a pretty poor track record - look how they sold off he land at rock bottom price to the bloke who built Oxford's football stadiun and conference centre in Littlemore!
According to one bloke I met in an Oxford pub last year, the whole Temple Cowley issue was simply a ploy by City Council to get a fancy new pool for Blackbird Leys - the 'showcase social housing jewel in Labour's portfolio of disasters like that Westgate Centre.' He could be right, but it's always heartwarming to see City Council now backtracking and apparently being happy to sell-on what had become an ongoing maintenance disaster over decades, to a consortium which wants to do what City Council should have done all along - build flats and refurbish the pool and sports facilities. Mind you, City has a pretty poor track record - look how they sold off he land at rock bottom price to the bloke who built Oxford's football stadiun and conference centre in Littlemore! Myron Blatz
  • Score: 3

1:16pm Sun 30 Mar 14

SaveTCP says...

The new swimming pool is on a 'site of convenience' which just happens to be Blackbird Leys - convenient for Labour to attempt to keep up their vote, but the Council doesn't really care about the location. The Council always declares that the new facility is a "25m competition swimming pool" (for which read, "we are gifting a £13m pool to the swimming club") and a "citywide facility" (for which read, "we could have put it anywhere, but Blackbird Leys seemed to be the easiest place to put it"). There is no evidence of demand for a new 25m swimming pool at Blackbird Leys, but plenty of opposing views. The already abysmally small amount of green space is being eaten into even more (and wait for the additional housing to be built on the Green as part of the "regeneration"), it's a residential estate whose roads aren't designed for the volume of traffic being forecast, and if they want anything at all it's more entertainment, like flumes..

The end result is that Fusion get to increase their profits by having to run 1 site instead of 3, and the people of Oxford don't get the services they want and need where they want and need them.

Which is why the Campaign to Save Temple Cowley Pools has seen so much support over five years.
The new swimming pool is on a 'site of convenience' which just happens to be Blackbird Leys - convenient for Labour to attempt to keep up their vote, but the Council doesn't really care about the location. The Council always declares that the new facility is a "25m competition swimming pool" (for which read, "we are gifting a £13m pool to the swimming club") and a "citywide facility" (for which read, "we could have put it anywhere, but Blackbird Leys seemed to be the easiest place to put it"). There is no evidence of demand for a new 25m swimming pool at Blackbird Leys, but plenty of opposing views. The already abysmally small amount of green space is being eaten into even more (and wait for the additional housing to be built on the Green as part of the "regeneration"), it's a residential estate whose roads aren't designed for the volume of traffic being forecast, and if they want anything at all it's more entertainment, like flumes.. The end result is that Fusion get to increase their profits by having to run 1 site instead of 3, and the people of Oxford don't get the services they want and need where they want and need them. Which is why the Campaign to Save Temple Cowley Pools has seen so much support over five years. SaveTCP
  • Score: 0

5:25pm Sun 30 Mar 14

The New Private Eye says...

With us getting a lovely new pool on The Leys, if STCP come up with the best bid then good luck to them. It will mean that us council tax payers are double winners with a big boost to the council coffers to go along with the new pool. But I am glad that STCP admit that the pools are not viable on their own and needs housing to cover the costs.
With us getting a lovely new pool on The Leys, if STCP come up with the best bid then good luck to them. It will mean that us council tax payers are double winners with a big boost to the council coffers to go along with the new pool. But I am glad that STCP admit that the pools are not viable on their own and needs housing to cover the costs. The New Private Eye
  • Score: 0

9:23pm Sun 30 Mar 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

The New Private Eye wrote:
With us getting a lovely new pool on The Leys, if STCP come up with the best bid then good luck to them. It will mean that us council tax payers are double winners with a big boost to the council coffers to go along with the new pool. But I am glad that STCP admit that the pools are not viable on their own and needs housing to cover the costs.
It is quite interesting to see how the SaveTCP group have failed to use critical terms this time when referring to Fusion as being a charity... Now that it'll be convenient for their "community enterprise" to operate in that way.

They have, of course, until recently damned any suggestion that they purchase the site over the last 5 years of campaigning - and here we are now finding that is the right way forward for them. Not forgetting their publishing of figures that suggest the existing SaveTCP site is so badly polluted that it will cost them £5m to clean it up. I hope they told their partners this figure!

Still confused about the price though, they claim the cost is over £4m more than the figure that Oxford's heritage campaigner, Sarah Lasenby say it is. Only one of them can be telling the truth.

We also need clarification from SaveTCP over their plans for the "Fusion Six" - those people, including one of their lead campaigners who have been banned from using the pool. Will they all be invited en-mass to join the new facility?

Of course, not forgetting... Where will these 30 homes park their cars? There have been constant claims over the years about TCP being within walking distance of their cohort - yet every time I've nodded a civilised "morning" greeting to their lead campaigner, Nigel Gibson, he's been looking utterly exhausted walking back to his car in the car park.

Finally, got to wonder who these two business partners are. Many readers will be more than capable of doing their calculations...

Galliard Homes is in the process of trying to obtain permission to build homes on a former leisure site outside the ring-road. The SaveTCP group have over 12,000 signatories, from all around the world, who have campaigned vigorously against leisure facilities outside the ring-road.

It's the perfect match.
[quote][p][bold]The New Private Eye[/bold] wrote: With us getting a lovely new pool on The Leys, if STCP come up with the best bid then good luck to them. It will mean that us council tax payers are double winners with a big boost to the council coffers to go along with the new pool. But I am glad that STCP admit that the pools are not viable on their own and needs housing to cover the costs.[/p][/quote]It is quite interesting to see how the SaveTCP group have failed to use critical terms this time when referring to Fusion as being a charity... Now that it'll be convenient for their "community enterprise" to operate in that way. They have, of course, until recently damned any suggestion that they purchase the site over the last 5 years of campaigning - and here we are now finding that is the right way forward for them. Not forgetting their publishing of figures that suggest the existing SaveTCP site is so badly polluted that it will cost them £5m to clean it up. I hope they told their partners this figure! Still confused about the price though, they claim the cost is over £4m more than the figure that Oxford's heritage campaigner, Sarah Lasenby say it is. Only one of them can be telling the truth. We also need clarification from SaveTCP over their plans for the "Fusion Six" - those people, including one of their lead campaigners who have been banned from using the pool. Will they all be invited en-mass to join the new facility? Of course, not forgetting... Where will these 30 homes park their cars? There have been constant claims over the years about TCP being within walking distance of their cohort - yet every time I've nodded a civilised "morning" greeting to their lead campaigner, Nigel Gibson, he's been looking utterly exhausted walking back to his car in the car park. Finally, got to wonder who these two business partners are. Many readers will be more than capable of doing their calculations... Galliard Homes is in the process of trying to obtain permission to build homes on a former leisure site outside the ring-road. The SaveTCP group have over 12,000 signatories, from all around the world, who have campaigned vigorously against leisure facilities outside the ring-road. It's the perfect match. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

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