In a stunning display of political cowardice and deceit, Hackney council has closed Haggerston Baths.
A Health and Safety report (compiled in a 20 minute visit, and published – coincidentally of course – 3 days after private bidders for the pool had met with the council) claimed that the pool was a “risk to the users and workers at the centre”.
Local people have smelt a rat and suspicions over the timing of the closure have been reinforced by a secret document obtained by the Haggerston Pool Community Action group which reveals that the pool has been closed in order to free up funds for the Clissold Pool.
As one speaker at a packed emergency meeting put it, “A poorer part of the borough is being used to subsidise the building of a lovely new leisure centre in a better off part of the borough”.
The document reveals that the bidders for running the councils leisure facilities (all of which are up for tender) have demanded a larger injection of cash from the council in order to make a profit and satisfy their shareholders, and under the logic of this PFI-style initiative (which the council is now trying to apply to housing too) if there’s no profit for private business then they’re just not interested.
All of this flies in the face of the work done by the local community in putting forward its own scheme for running the pool and goes to show what the IWCA has been saying all along: if you’re working class the council couldn’t care less.