Save Temple Cowley Pools & Fitness Centre!

The Campaign to Save Temple Cowley Pools & Fitness Centre!

Charlotte Barrow - RIP


Thanks so much for everyone who managed to come to the meeting last night - fantastic to have so much support.

Absolutely no surprises about the result, as we anticipated. The Councillors voted 5 Labour for, 1 Green against, going with the officers' recommendation to support the Catalyst Planning Application. We are considering our options, as there are clear and obvious planning and procedural reasons to challenge the decision.

View the whole show trial below. Unfortunately we are not allowed to video the public area, so can't show the support, but you can definitely hear it. And our thanks to Horns of Plenty for adding a surreal touch to proceedings :-)


Finally, the Planning Application to develop the Temple Cowley Pools Site comes to the East Area Planning Committee. This coming Wednesday. Be there if you possibly can to show your support for keeping the site for health and fitness, and a focus for the community.

There are lots of reasons to refuse permission on planning grounds (these are the only ones that the committee can use for refusal). But remember Labour made a POLITICAL decision to close Temple Cowley Pools; Labour decided that the community COULD NOT take over and operate the centre at no cost to the council; Labour decided to close the centre in December 2014 when Temple Cowley Pools could have been kept open until now; and it was Labour's explicit instruction to demolish Temple Cowley Pools in summer last year, before the planning application was heard and so preventing any chance of the community taking control.

And, Labour chose Catalyst to develop the site - the deal is that the Council get £3.6m if the Labour-controlled Council approves the planning application.
Obviously no conflict of interest there then!

This is the public's opportunity to see Labour councillors ignore the wishes of the public and vote through their own scheme; we know the format - t the start of the meeting each councillor will declare they are acting on their own behalf and independent of their party, and then the Labour councillors will vote to approve the Labour scheme. This is not right, and it is not fair on the 40,000 people in the Temple Cowley area who can no longer walk or cycle to where they want to exercise,


We are now 8 years on from when the public first heard that Oxford City Council wanted to take away health and fitness facilities from East Oxford. Over 40,000 people are directly affected by the 'Blue Hole' the Council have created by closing and forcing demolition of Temple Cowley Pools.

Support from the Community is rock solid - we want Temple Cowley Pools back!

Everybody Can Help

Object to Planning - see below or click on the Planning tab
Donate - we need money to oppose the Council in a Judicial Review - click the Donations tab


Signing the Petition at Templars Square - with Peggy Seeger!

Peggy Seeger (2nd from right) with Campaigners at Templars Square, Cowley on Saturday, petition in hand ready to engage with the public. A overwhelming positive response for a great lady - renowned as the 'Queen of Folk', Peggy became well known with Ewan McColl - everyone knows the song 'First Time Ever I Saw Your Face', which was written by Ewan for Peggy. A tireless campaigner for justice and human rights, Peggy wrote and performed the Campaign Song with members of the community. Still performing, see Peggy's website for more information

Saturday, 14th January 2017. What a brilliant turnout! We were out campaigning in Templars Square earlier today, sharing the latest information about the Save Temple Cowley Pools Campaign and enabling the public to add several hundred more signatures to our petition.

Our latest petition, number 9, demands that Oxford City Council rebuilds the health and fitness amenity lost when the closed, and then in the middle of last year ordered the demolition of, Temple Cowley Pools. Over 40,000 people, according to the Council’s own figures, are no longer able conveniently to walk or cycle to where they want to exercise, forced instead to travel by other means outside the area.

And more and more people are putting in objections to the Planning Application by Catalyst Housing, which would see the Council coffers increase by £3.6m in return for permission to build on the site at twice the permitted housing density.

At the front of the team today was our very own Peggy Seeger, renowned as the Queen of Folk and a long-term supporter of Temple Cowley Pools. An Iffley resident, Peggy regularly swam at Temple Cowley Pools until it was closed by the City Council in December 2014. Our thanks to everyone who turned up today to sign the petition, discuss what’s happening and show their support for the Campaign.

Member of the Campaign, Nigel Gibson, commented, “It’s great to see such interest and enthusiasm for rebuilding Temple Cowley Pools. Everyone is clear that Blackbird Leys is in a different area, and the closure of three pools (Peers, Temple Cowley, Blackbird Leys) by the Council has swamped the other centres, that now struggle to cope with the additional numbers forced to go to these different locations. Temple Cowley Pools should never have closed, and the Council is obliged by its own statutes to provide a replacement in the same area – Temple Cowley. There are very good planning reasons why the Catalyst Planning Application should not be approved, and we are ready to take the site over at no cost to the public purse to rebuild what should never have been taken away.”



Help Block the Sale of the Temple Cowley Pools site - send an 'Objection to Planning' email to the City Council. Without planning permission, the sale to Catalyst Housing will fail. You can help make a difference TAKE ACTION
Oxfordshire Guardian does it again on the Campaign - shame on Cllr Price for not telling all the story...

Over 200 Objections to Catalyst's Planning Application to destroy TCP - add another, make your voice known

Object to the Planning Application - email [email protected]see here for suggestions on valid objections on planning grounds. Add your own experiences of how much longer it takes to go somewhere different, how much more it costs, and how much less frequently you go. You can comment as many times as you like, and everyone in your household regardless of age can put in their own objection - losing TCP is real for you, make it real for the City Council planners who are determined to override public opinion! 

This is what the Demolition Contractors have destroyed, employed by Catalyst Housing, and at the insistence of and demanded by our Labour controlled Oxford City Council - beautiful facilities taken from 40,000 people:

These pictures were taken inside Temple Cowley Pools early in 2016 - you can see  a perfectly sound building, ready to be taken over by the community and run at no cost to the Council. But as we can see now all too clearly, our Labour run City Council has no intention of working for the public good, and is determined to pursue its 'sweetheart' deal with Catalyst - getting £3.6m in return for granting planning permission.

And if you've got this far, Welcome!

Now in our EIGHTH year of campaigning, with massive continuing public support - the City Council wanted Temple Cowley Pools shut over five years ago, but you all helped keep TCP open until December 2014. During that additional time users enjoyed more than half a million more visits, we exposed the Council propaganda as a combination of Inaccurate, Incomplete, Misleading and Untrue, and played our part in getting the right to video at Council meetings. 

The decision to sell the site to a commercial developer, Catalyst, was taken at the end of 2014 and the Labour Council has closed and destroyed yet another facility in Cowley. The exact conditions in the contract remain murky, demonstrating yet again the lack of openness and transparency when Oxford City Council decides not to work with the public they are there to serve.

But the Campaign continues into 2016, challenging the decisions, confronting the propaganda and working every way we can so that the community can again have the facilities it wants and needs, where it wants and needs them, in Cowley.


The Save Temple Cowley Pools Campaign has been fighting since 2009 to keep open the Temple Cowley Pools & Fitness Centre in Temple Road, Oxford, condemned to closure by Oxford City Council. The Council rushed to close the site at 4pm on 23rd December 2014, without any notice to the public, and boarded up the centre with people still swimming in it!


We have huge support across Oxford to keep the centre open, including the first petition that reached over 12,000 signatures before we stopped - the largest in Oxford, simply ignored by the administration. We've continued with a succession of petitions that show people's frustration with the City Council. Petition number 8 was debated at the Council meeting in November 2014.


During December 2014, the Council continued to defy public opinion, voting in an all-Labour City Executive Board meeting to go with a commercial developer wanting to put 47 dwellings and 53 car park spaces on the site. Our community Social Enterprise proposal, presented by the SaveTCP community interest company, was dismissed without any public discussion, and without us being told what the council would find acceptable. Our proposal represents £20m annual value delivered to the community, and the council has defied its voters and shown it is simply not interested. The Greens called in the decision to Scrutiny Committee on 23rd December, and despite Green and LibDem support, the 3 councillors were not about to turn over the well managed and "on message" 8 Labour councillors who knew what they had to do, so the decision stands - for now.

At 4pm on the 23rd December 2014 the Council closed TCP - the Campaign continues to challenge the Council decisions and work to keep and replace the facilities the Cowley community wants and needs, where they want and need them.

Please browse these pages for lots more information and background. Send us an email at [email protected] for any questions, comments and/or to add your name to our email list.

We also appear on Twitter @SaveTCP (see rhs of this page for our Twitter feed) and on Facebook.


Get involved! All your Labour councillors are ignoring the views of the people they were elected to serve. The Council needs to be constantly challenged because it is determined to get its way and is continually putting out information that we demonstrate time and again is a combination of MISLEADING, INACCURATE, INCOMPLETE and UNTRUE.

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...Planning Application comes and goes - keep looking here for what we do next...
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