Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Policy Development & Scrutiny Panel for Communities, Transport & Environment will be reviewing the recent decision made by the Cabinet Member for Community Services on warm water provision within the refurbishment plans for Bath and Keynsham leisure centres. This will be discussed at the next panel meeting on Tuesday 2 May which starts at 11.00am in the Council Chamber, Bath Guildhall.
This item of the meeting (known as a ‘Call-In’) will consider the process leading to the Single Member Decision, taken on Friday 31 March 2017.
This cross-party panel will consider reasons for the decision and the Call-In request, before recommending one of three options: the Cabinet Member should reconsider the decision; the Cabinet Member should proceed as agreed; or if it should refer the matter to the full Council to carry out the role of the panel in reviewing the decision process (if this option is chosen, the final decision would still reside with the Cabinet Member).
The Warm Water Inclusive Swimming and Exercise (WWISE) group have campaigned for a number of years for warm water pools (at least 32 degrees centigrade) at a depth of 1.2/1.3 metres deep to be included within B&NES leisure centres to provide exercise opportunities for those with disabilities that restrict their movement so that standard pool temperatures feel too cold.
Proposals were submitted by WWISE to provide examples of what they would like to see at Bath Leisure Centre.
The Cabinet Member received a report which reviewed these options and the technical and practical considerations of including warm water pools within the leisure centre refurbishments and also considered what reasonable adjustments could be made to accommodate the needs identified by the WWISE group, as part of the works.
A Single Member Cabinet Decision was taken by Councillor Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North) Cabinet Member for Community Services, on Friday 31 March 2017, which resolved that:
- The Council provide teaching pools at both facilities, with warmer water (30-32 ºc), than the main pool at a depth of 0.9 – 1m which is the standard depth and temperature for a pool of this type. These pools to be designed in partnership with Sport England to ensure they meet the accessibility guidelines as far as reasonably practical within the constraints of a refurbishment.
- The provision of these facilities constitutes a reasonable adjustment based upon the respective needs of the core user and the needs identified by the WWISE group while maximising the use for all users. The provision minimises the risks to safety of users, the capital and revenue impacts and the deterioration of premises that operating a permanent dedicated warm water facility would entail
Subsequently 13 councillors formally asked for the Cabinet Member’s decision to be reviewed - or Called-In.
The Call-In petitioners are concerned on the following grounds:
- The proposed depth of the teaching pool (0.9m – 1m) will be insufficient for the needs identified by WWISE.
- Therefore the provision of these facilities does not constitute a ‘reasonable adjustment’ based upon the respective needs of the core user and the needs identified by WWISE.
At the public meeting, the Scrutiny Panel will receive a statement from both Councillor Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North), Cabinet Member for Community Services, and from Councillor Dine Romero (Liberal Democrat, Southdown) on behalf of councillors who requested the Call-In.
The panel is also keen to hear from local people and stakeholders who have a view on this issue. Members of the public wishing to speak at the meeting should contact Democratic Services on 01225 394458 by 5pm on Wednesday 26 April
Full details and agenda papers are available from the Council’s website (www.bathnes.gov.uk) in the “Council and Democracy” section.