The leader of Warwick District Council has rebuked suggestions that there had been a lack of consultation over plans to remove the outdoor pool in Kenilworth’s Abbey Fields.
At last night’s (Wednesday) full council meeting, Cllr Andrew Mobbs said talks had taken place with the Restore Keniloworth Lido Group, some of whom were in the public gallery having staged a demonstration outside the Town Hall ahead of the meeting.
Cllr Sue Gallagher raised the matter by asking: “Can the leader of the council explain on what basis the council has chosen to dismiss the Restore Keniloworth Lido Group and their recent attempt to reconcile matters in the light of legal advice which suggests that the council’s consultation was unfair?
“Please could the leader explain why the council is content to ignore the groundswell of public opinion of Kenilworth asking for a proper consultation concerning the Abbey Fields swimming pool and why he has ignored a motion that was unanimously carried at a public meeting of Kenilworth’s townsfolk?
“Why is he persisting in pursuing the option that has the least support of all the options and why he feels the public is not entitled to know why up to £9m of their money is to be spent against the wishes of the majority of those who took part in the pool consultation and those speaking up now?”
Cllr Mobbs said the plans for Abbey Fields had been drawn up by experts and would benefit everyone.
He said: “I’m grateful, especially with some interested parties in the gallery, to be able to give some clarity to this.
“Let me remind you that we did more consultation in Kenilworth than we did in Leamington and Warwick and in that consultation, the lido was the least popular option.
“Our plans have been well thought through by our team of officers and outside consultants who have looked at what’s best for our district - and that is an all year round 52-week facility which will gain Sport England funding, which will gain all-year access for our children and for those less able. It is the best for our residents and the district.
“We have consulted more with the Save Kenilworth Lido Group than with any other organisation. We want what is best for the health and fitness of all our residents and that is what we have achieved here.”
He added that the existing outdoor pool was only open between May and September and that it only opened for 15 days one year.