Labour and SNP councillors on the City of Edinburgh Council have voted to sell Leith Waterworld for £1m pounds to A & G Property. The firm will close the pool and open a soft play facility on the site.
Here is the full response from the Splashback group who had been trying to put together a community bid for the swimming pool.
Splashback Statement on Council Decision, 30 May 2013
We are angry and dismayed that the City of Edinburgh Council has decided to pull the plug on Leith Waterworld and abandon their commitment to work with us. We have spent 15 months campaigning to save the pool and 4 months working intensively with council officers and councillors on a business plan for a revived pool.
The January amendment stated that the council would work with us on a feasibility stage until December 2013 and committed £125,000 to support this and intended a further £225,000 over 2 years if the plan was successful. This decision was against officers’ recommendations and seemed indicative of a genuine desire on the part of the Council to make a real commitment to cooperative working. This could have been a flagship project for community engagement. In chambers on 31st January Richard Lewis said, “While there remains a tremendous amount of work to be done in the months ahead, we want to give the community the best possible chance of success by providing the necessary funding and support toward taking their proposals to the next phase.We owe it to the people of Edinburgh to do everything to preserve this valuable community asset”. The trust we placed in the Council that day has been broken.
Significant progress had been made through the working group; an application for charitable status had been made, tenders for engineering, design and consultancy services had been issued and positive engagement made with funders who were as excited as we were about the potential of this project. Despite this progress our work has been prematurely cut short, taking away the opportunity for the council to consider an alternative vision for Leith Waterworld. As a result, the council cannot make a comparison between what they have been offered and our proposal.
We do not believe the bid accepted by the Council is the best deal for Leith, for families, children, the disabled or the local community. Soft play delivers negligible health and wellbeing benefits.
Our campaign was not just about the building it was about the social benefits the amenity delivered. As such we have pressed the council to ensure that the £125,000 promised to the feasibility phase be ringfenced and utilised to address the deficiencies that exist in accessible and affordable swimming. We believe this funding should be used to secure free swimming for under 11s across the city as a minimum.
We are heartbroken that despite our best efforts we have not been able to save the pool. We recognise that this will be felt by many across the city. We would like to thank everyone for your overwhelming support for the campaign. Sadly on this occasion it has fallen on deaf ears but we would urge you to continue to hold your elected members to account. Thank you also to our partners and spouses and especially our children who have put up with all our hours of absence when we could have been swimming with them.
Johnny, Fiona, Jacqueline, Ida, Richard, Simon and Chris on behalf of Splashback
The Splashback team were not the only people who were disappointed with the decision. Lot’s of people took to social media to share their veiws on the controversy, few were positive. Below, we’ve gathered up a small selection of the Leith Waterworld tweets from the last twenty four hours.
As it became clear the council were determined to sell-off Leith Waterworld, people took to the internet to share their views. Few supported the sale…