Oxford City Council has created a 'blue hole' by closing Temple Cowley Pools - anyone living in this area is forced to travel more than 20 minutes to get to a publicly funded leisure centre. This, according to the Council's own figures, affects 40,000 people - a quarter of Oxford.
The Campaign to Save Temple Cowley Pools showed the area of Oxford that would be affected by the Council's closure of the centre. This is described on page 17 of the proposal we submitted to the Council in 2014. An Appendix to the proposal examined the health consequences of closure, and the consequent costs to the NHS and other local services.
We clearly identified the consequences of closure:
We asked the Council to track what happened after closure to people who used to use Temple Cowley Pools - they have refused. So we surveyed the people we are still in contact with - guess what? All these things have happened.
Truth is the Council doesn't actually know - or seem to care. They didn't do any analysis when producing their 5 year Leisure Strategy - and the Council Statistician doesn't hold any figures that directly map onto the affected area. So we used the numbers and areas the Statistician could provide, and worked it out ourselves - approximately 40,000 people are in the Blue Hole - that's a quarter of Oxford's population.
They show no signs of caring about the people in the Blue Hole. There is a Council policy, CS21, in its Core Strategy, which clearly states that if any leisure centre is closed, it must be replaced in the area with facilities at least as good as those being closed. And a condition taken on by the Council when granting planning permission for the new pool at Blackbird Leys was that they would find an alternative.
The Council would argue that:
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