The campaign to keep publicly funded leisure inside the ring road in East Oxford is starting its second year; we need support from anyone who cares about the health and wellbeing of the citizens of Oxford and how the City Council is ignoring the will of its citizens for its own ends.
Over the last year, the Labour-controlled city council in Oxford has been pushing through plans to close two leisure centres and replace them with an extension onto Blackbird Leys Leisure Centre.
Saving a pool may not be the most obvious cause to mount the barricades, but if the pool and gym at Temple Cowley shuts there will be a significant impact on the environment as well as the health and well-being of thousands of people in Oxford, and the council will continue to feel free to do what it likes without any accountability.
Inside nine months the Save Temple Cowley Pools Campaign Group got over 11,000 signatures on a petition to keep TCP open. This is the largest ever petition in the history of Oxford, and the Council simply ignored it. Why?
There are two reasons – firstly, closing two facilities and opening a new one means that the 'outsourced' operator, Fusion Lifestyle, can cut their costs at the expense of the convenience of the people who regularly use the pools and gym for exercise, keeping/maintaining/recovering fitness during and after illness as well as a simple leisure activity. Secondly, the Council wants to sell the TCP land for student accommodation at Brookes, just as it has across East Oxford. And once the pool goes, the land around it will be there to build on – watch as the library gets cut, and St. Christopher's School will be under threat again. The Temple Cowley area will lose its amenities, and the Labour councillors the people voted in to look after them will leave East Oxford high and dry.
Well before the new coalition government brought in its package of cuts, Labour in Oxford were carrying out their own version – don't let them join any anti-cuts campaign without questioning them over why they are closing TCP!
There are many arguments put forward by the Council for closing TCP, all fallacy: cost, environment, transport, convenience – they even claim that their proposed new 25m pool will meet their aspirations for ‘world class' leisure. All these areas are discussed at length on the campaign website at savetemplecowleypools.webs.com.
Temple Cowley Pools needs your help – now! The Council is reviewing its budget options in the light of the government cuts – it is obviously cheaper to refurbish TCP for £3-6m than destroy it and build a new pool for £8.5m. The Council is ringfencing this money and frontline services will be cut instead – this is, as someone commented, "madness". We need to keep the pressure up through a variety of means – come along to one of our meetings with ideas on how we can defeat the council and stop them wasting yet more money, visit the website for information, including how to join us on Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo. And please sign our online petitions: