At council last week there was a petition from a group of Acton residents asking the council to keep Acton baths open. It is due to close on December 4th for well over two years, see here. The council says that a new swimmimng pool will be re-provided in “Spring 2004”. By last Tuesday Santha Bradford and her team had got 1,862 people to sign their petition. They are waging a very impressive campaign, using online and paper petitions, the local paper and online video. All this is summed up with regular updates on the actonw3.com and ealingtoday.co.uk forums.
It is great that the new Labour council is carrying on with the previous Tory administration’s plans to redevelop some of the key public assets in Acton town centre. This always was going to be a difficult project – replacing a suite of complex but faded public buildings for which people have great affection with more practical modern buildings but keeping the right level of the heritage of Acton intact. The Labour administration seems to be getting it badly wrong and it is because it is paying more attention to its own politcal fortunes than the needs of Actonians. They are closing the baths for too long. Well over two years. The works programme has been built around delivering the new complex by “Spring 2004”. We all know that this means in time to get Labour re-elected at the local elections in May 2014. The users want as small as possible time without a pool in Acton. Closing the baths before planning permission has been given shows that the works programme is built around politcal not user needs. No commercial business would shut its doors for so long. They certainly wouldn’t close until they had planning permission in the bag.