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Council pulls plug on baths

Date online: 03 July 2014

SPIRALLING repair costs have forced the council to pull the plug prematurely on Crompton’s swimming pool.

Replacing the boiler at the ageing sports centre could cost up to £50,000 - and even that wouldn’t guarantee the pool’s use until the opening of the new Royton Leisure Centre in 2016, when the pool was intended to close.

The pool - known as Shaw baths - has been off-limits since March and has cost £40,000 in repairs over the past two years. All non-swimming facilities remain open.

Karen Burston, team manager of Crompton Classics swimming club — members of which turned up at a protest yesterday — fears that without the pool, the club will have to shelve plans for a merger with Royton and this might threaten the club’s existence.

She said: “We’re devastated. We had planned to merge with Royton, using both pools until the new one is built. Now there isn’t enough space, I don’t know what will happen. It’s a crying shame.”

The council is investigating the possibility of creating permanent dry leisure facilities for Shaw at the nearby Lifelong Learning Centre.

Joanne Lewis-Ryan, secretary of the Friends of Shaw Baths, said: “We always had a thought something like this would happen. It will be hard to believe what the council says now.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition party in Oldham, and local Shaw councillor Howard Sykes is furious at the decision.

He said: “The people of Shaw deserve better than to be treated like this. Just £50,000 could have kept the pool open for hundreds of users. If this was elsewhere in Oldham the cash would have been spent.”

In 2012, a survey showed the building needed up to £1.2million to be spent to give it a long-term future. Councillor Jenny Harrison, Cabinet member for adult social care and public health, said: “We’ve done everything possible to keep it open. The scale of the repair means it is not possible to keep it open any longer.”  


Evidence of the effect of draconian coalition government austerity cuts. Local Councils will now face the difficult decisions of where to allocate increasingly reduced funding and it will leave to tough decisions. I appreciate the issue but let's be honest Royton is hardly a million miles away. Lots of areas of oldham don't have facilities in their own ward. Why doesn't Mr Sykes offer to part fund it from the money Shaw collects in parish council tax???

No surprises here - Shaw is a LibDem area so the socialst OMBC will always divert spending to its strongholds such as Royton. Just look at the state of the War Memorial: the plynth is grubby & stained; the granite steps have been loosened (ready to pinch?); the paving slabs on the paths are broken; the lawns are neglected.

i'm probably not the only one who isn't surprised at this.

seems far too convenient that its broke down just now.

The point is Bramble, not everybody has access to a car to get to Royton, and the bus service is unreliable.Royton gets everything, new health centre, and now a new pool. Shaw gets chuff all. You do not seem to appreciate the effort Crompton Classics put in to keep the club going and giving the local SHAW kids the chance to train and compete in competitions. Why do't you put your hand in your pocket and pay for the repairs

Call me cynical but can we have the estimates for the replacement boiler published please? No one doubts the baths need to be replaced but surely repairs would have come to something much less. Its another nail in the coffin for Shaw town centre and its community. I sense deliberate time delaying tactics to run down the building on purpose and this doesnt come as a surprise. Also, the total lack of information and fobbing off to paying customers until this point is disgraceful.

Another nail in the coffin of "Shaw". How many more public facilities are going to hit the sidelines because of poor funding from Oldham before the voters of Shaw say enough? I agree with Bramble and say come on Oldham, divert some of the Council Tax to reopen the baths. I am sure it can be done. With all these new lamp-posts going up all over, it won't need to be floodlit, that's for sure!

is that all you labour lot can come up with bramble?

blame it on the cuts!

change the record!

funny how the council has isolated the running of leisure facilities to privately based businesses like OCL and yet they cannot generate their own funding to maintain the facilities.

it'd help if they opened their sports centres more often. I used to be an OCL member till the cut back opening times.

and that way way before austerity cuts.

It does seem a little strange that Royton appears to be preffered over Shaw every time. Are there more Labour councillors in the Royton area or something? New health centre, now the new swimming baths. Will the good folk of Shaw see a reduction in their council tax and an increase for the residents of Royton? Maybe Labour could spend a few quid on us and construct some wooden changing rooms beside Brushes clough reservoir? All very one sided in my opinion.

What a shame! Surely we should be encouraging the various townships to develop their own communities. Let's get back to the time when local people could actually walk to where the local facilities were!

As a Roytoner i supported keeping shaw baths open they should have had enough money to repair the baths with the what they charge for a swim they are the most expensive around cheaper to swim in Manchester Ashton or Rochdale no doubt public swims will suffer so to accomodate swimming lessons that not every family can afford.

@klgexafs - I fully sympathise with all the clubs using the pool but sadly we are now in a world where money does not exist in local government. This council has managed to save over £100m in the past four years without affecting services but there is no option now. Public transport links do exist and Royton is not far away. It might not seem fair but that's the life we have to expect in local govt now. Maybe you should explore local fundraising or ask the parish council? Sadly I don't have £50k

What happen yo the new baths ASDA offered to build.the council will knock the baths down and build flats,watch this space.

Finally, It`s getting over about Royton Getting it all. Iv`e been Banging that Drum for AGES.

It makes me laugh when councils cry poverty as they have to make cuts. The truth is that many have simply gotten away with years of overspending, cottage industries, bureaucracy and paying inflated prices to justify their budgets. Now theyve been cut theyve had to conduct themselves like a real business and become more efficient in what they do instead of frittering away OUR money and having inflated pay rises and pensions. Welcome to the real world.

@fedupoldhamer - not my fault you don't like the truth. Austerity cuts to Local Government budgets is the problem and it will get worse as cuts continue. Sadly this is the first example of many service options that will have to be stopped. As for your point about OCL, I imagine their contract with the council is to provide the running of the leisure provision and activities not the maintenance of buildings. Still a Council asset and I imagine not the responsibility of OCL

It is the children who will suffer as many parents do not have the time or money for buses or taxis when several children wish to go to the swim clubs in order to learn a valuable lesson. Perhaps one day a life saving lesson.

I live in Royton and due to political gerry mandering of voting wards in the past,
I have been required to pay the Shaw Parish council tax for at least 30 years.
So bramble do not give Mr Sykes and co, any ideas on extracting more money from poor pensioners via the unjust parish council tax, And Royton does not have the Metro tram.

blah blah blah poor little Shaw against the mighty Royton!! What a load of nonsense. Shaw baths was rubbish anyway, only half the size of a real pool

In response to bluefor30years, I worked for the Council for a number of years and I can only remember one pay rise which was lower that RPI. With regards to 'join the real world' the Council has different stakeholders and objectives than 'real world' companies! I don't agree with things that go on at the Council however to simply bash all the time doesn't help anyone. Why not spend your time trying to raise the money e.g. fundraisers etc to keep the baths open.

Roytns New Pool is only Half Size.

Another nail in the coffin for Shaw. The best thing I did this year was to pack up and move to Chester.

Coun Sykes & his 4 Lib-Dem chums in Shaw & Crompton Wards allowed the Baths to fall into disrepair, made no mention of saving the facility in his alternative budget and greets the closure with malevolent glee. No mention of our Labour MP who has engaged with FOSB to move to Community Ownership just "ooh, look what nasty Labour have done". With 'friends' like that, who needs enemies? The £150m cuts already inflicted by this Con-Dem govt and the £50m more to come have to come from somewhere.


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