So. This evening sees a Council cabinet meeting at 7.00 pm that might have an important effect on the fate of St. George’s Pool on The Highway.
Thanks to the sterling work of local campaigner Amanda Day of the Turks Head Charity some very interesting information has been uncovered.
‘One of the most disturbing reports ever’
Well done to Amanda for sticking to her guns when digging for the information. A total star.
If Amanda had not persisted then none of us would have known about a 313-page report into St. George’s Pool that opposition councillors Andrew Wood (Canary Wharf, Independent) and Peter Golds (Conservative, Island Gardens) call one of the most disturbing reports they have ever read.
Which is a damning comment in this borough.
Cllr Wood says that the report details a catalogue of failures ‘over many years and many administrations back to at least 2003’ and that Tower Hamlets Council should have closed St. George’s Pool temporarily in November 2019 as soon as they got the report, as ‘it clearly identifies health hazards to users and staff that needed to be rectified immediately’
It gets worse.
While some work was done to keep the pool going over the winter ‘parts of the building were clearly known to be unsafe safe in October 2019’ but it was still kept open.
‘We were lucky that COVID closed it’
Then there is this.
‘We were lucky that COVID closed it [the pool] when it did BUT the situation then got much worse, as the pool was effectively abandoned, the water was not emptied allowing algae to grow. None of the faults identified in 2017 and 2019 were fixed by summer of 2021.’
Oppositions councillors analysis
The councillors have done a great job analysing the report and Cllr Wood has then tweeted their findings and written a post on his blog entitled ‘St Georges Leisure Centre or How bad Tower Hamlets Council is at the basics’
Moley suggests a more pithy headline might be ‘Buried St Georges Leisure Centre reports show how bad Tower Hamlets Council is at being a council’.
Lots more on Andrew’s blog here.
Opposition councillor’s motion amendment
As well as this, opposition Cllr Rabina Khan (Lib Dem, Shadwell) has also been busy, submitting an amendment to a Council motion (no, we are not sure what they are either) which you can see here if you scroll down to Amended Motion 12.3.
Here is a flavour of Cllr Khan’s motion amendment proposing that the Council agrees:
“To fully commit to reopening St Georges Swimming Baths as soon as possible, recognising that its use is fundamental to our community recovering (mentally, physically and economically via job creation) from Covid-19”
There is lots of other stuff like this in her motion, all of which seems to make a lot of sense.
The bottom line
It seems that Tower Hamlets Council has done what it does best, completely screwing up the basic operations that a local authority is required to undertake.
This time they seem to have excelled themselves which is no easy task.
Although to be fair the fiasco of the council website being down for two whole days because some idiot forgot to renew the site domain is right up there.
And so all we need to hear now is the BS excuses the council comes out with for (a) not doing a damn thing about the pool and (b) forgetting about the existence of the report.
Depressing, innit? And these people think they are worthy of being elected again?