Date set for extraordinary hydrotherapy meeting but councillors bemoan "unreasonable" delay

The delay in holding the meeting has been described as “unreasonable” by opposition councillors.

Inside the Hydrotherapy pool in Peterborough.
Inside the Hydrotherapy pool in Peterborough.

A date has been set for an extraordinary council meeting into the failed sale and future of the city’s hydrotherapy pool.

Last week, all of the opposition leaders on the city council lent their support to a motion tabled by Councillor Aasiyah Joseph, which called for an extraordinary meeting into the decision to mothball the community asset rather than sell it.

The city’s mayor Councillor Steven Lane had seven days to respond to the petition and provide a date for the meeting if approved, which has now taken place.

St George's Community Hydrotherapy Pool at Dogsthorpe.

The councillors supporting the motion have been informed that the meeting will take place in just under a month’s time on May 23.

This is three weeks after the local elections on May 5. Labour Group Leader Shaz Nawaz has claimed that a request for a meeting before the date of the elections was dismissed at the meeting issue was deemed as not an “urgent matter” and due to the fact it was too close to the election, it would be unreasonable to call a meeting until after they had passed.

In response to this, all 30 opposing councillors have signed an open letter to the Council Leader Wayne Fitzgerald, posing 16 key questions that want answering over the pool, within the next five days.

An extract from the letter reads: “Our attempt to call an emergency council meeting as quickly as possible so that we might put questions openly regarding the decision have, at the Mayor’s prerogative, been unfairly thwarted until 23 May, which we believe is an unreasonably protracted delay.”

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When asked about the decision to propose a date for the meeting after the elections, the council confirmed that the matter was not considered as urgent and that holding such as meeting in this period would be inappropriate.

A spokesperson for Peterborough City Council said: “Due to the fact that the Council is currently in a pre-election period the mayor considered it to be unreasonable to call for a meeting, given the proximity to the election, as it would cause many practical difficulties for members and officers, as well as being inappropriate to discuss a motion of this nature in this period.

“The wording of the motion tabled was not in fact calling for a decision to actually be made and the Mayor therefore considered that no justification had been provided for him to accept that this request could be considered to be urgent.”

“An extraordinary meeting will therefore take place on the 23rd May to discuss this motion immediately after the next planned council meeting.”