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Council refutes ‘delaying tactics’ over Temple Cowley Pools
CAMPAIGNERS wanting to buy the Temple Cowley Pools leisure facility have complained that council officers are jeopardising their efforts.
Oxford City Council were prevented from selling the site for six months after residents registered it as an Asset of Community Value.
The group have until October 7 to make a bid before that period expires and the council can put it on the market.
But campaigners have this week claimed city council officers had failed to provide vital information they needed for a business plan.
The city council has not set a price for the sale of Temple Cowley Pools, and is inviting offers instead.
Jane Alexander, Save Temple Cowley Pools campaign member, said the group had asked for commercial information relating to pool usage from the city council and from Fusion, the company which Oxford City Council pays to run the city’s leisure facilities.
That included where customers had travelled from, what services they used and how many people used it on a regular basis, she added.
She said: “But they have been deliberately dilly-dallying.
“It is a delaying tactic because they do not want to answer our questions.”
And she claimed: “The council is afraid that if Temple Cowley Pools stays open then it will pull people away from the new facility in Blackbird Leys.
“They have every right to turn down our bid once it is made but at the moment they will not even give an asking price.”
In an address to the full council on Monday, campaigner Nigel Gibson said: “Officers are not cooperating with us.
“How can we prepare a bid without this critical information?”
It is understood that the group was yesterday afternoon due to meet with council officials to more formally discuss their imminent bid to buy the pool facility.
But in Monday’s full council meeting, Cllr Mike Rowley, below, executive board member responsible for leisure facility contracts, denied officers were dragging their heels.
Mr Rowley said: “The campaigners have asked for a large amount of very detailed information and that is being supplied to them.
“They will have it as soon as it can be gathered by officers.”
Council spokeswoman Louisa Dean added: “We have fully co-operated with and have already provided a considerable amount of information to them [the Save Temple Cowley Pools campaigners], to help them make their proposed bid.
“However, certain parts of the information requested, such as our confidential land valuation, clearly cannot be released to any bidder, while other operational information is commercially sensitive.
“While the council would be willing to release this commercially- sensitive operational information, we would only do so if it is protected by a non-disclosure declaration.
“Thus far, the community interest company has refused to give such a declaration.”
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