Sunday, 13 February 2011

By election implications

The resignation of John Friary, the Labour councillor for Brunswick Ward, has meant that a by election will take place on 10 March. A by election means that there is a period of 'purdah' where politicians of all parties cannot appear at any Council run event which may generate publicity for their campaign.

In the light of this, so that politicians can be present to make the speeches and appear in photographs, Southwark Council have decided to delay the official opening event, with Free Swimming, to Saturday 12 March.

This delay is disappointing to us. As a campaigning body, our focus is to ensure that Camberwell Baths is a financial success so that it does not get into the same spiral of lack of investment as before. Part of that means getting as many people as possible to use the facilities as soon as possible. We would have preferred to keep to the date of 5 March, but that's politics for you.

Equally disappointing is the delay on the decision on the Capital Programme, which has been shifted back from February 2011 to September 2011. The reasons for the delay are unclear.

We need £1.09m to complete the Sports Hall refurbishment this year. Peter John, Leader of the Council, indicated his strong support for the investment at our public meeting on 3 November.

Whether the money comes from his £2m Olympic Legacy Fund, or the Capital Programme, we will be keeping up the pressure and continue to campaign to get current Southwark councillors to take up the baton from the LibDem/Tory councillors, and to complete the refurbishment of Camberwell Baths.

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