Opposition leaders call for extraordinary council meeting over mothballed hydrotherapy pool

Opposition leaders on Peterborough City Council have called for an extraordinary council meeting after the mothballing of the city’s hydrotherapy pool earlier this month.
St George's Community Hydrotherapy Pool at Dogsthorpe.St George's Community Hydrotherapy Pool at Dogsthorpe.
St George's Community Hydrotherapy Pool at Dogsthorpe.

On April 6, councillors were sent an email to inform them that the sale of the facility, in Dogsthorpe, had fallen through and that it was planning to mothball the facility.

That decision has sparked an outcry from both councillors and users of the facility.

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Dr Neil Modha, who runs Thistlemoor Medical Centre, has since revealed plans for a new £2m hydrotherapy pool in the city but this would not open until spring 2023 at the earliest.

Labour Group Leader Shaz Nawaz has vowed to keep the current facility open, should he take over the council in the May elections, and honour the deal the council had previously agreed with Ranjith Mahamani.

Labour representative for Park Ward, Councillor Aasiyah Joseph, has now tabled a motion to hold an extraordinary meting to discuss the pool’s future. She has said that she can “no longer stand the pain of seeing so many people suffer.”

Peterborough First Group Leader John Fox is seconding the motion.

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Councillor Nawaz has described the current situation as “untenable.”

He said: “Many thousands of users of the pool have not been given any information since December 2020. They have been cruelly left in limbo with no pool to go to for rehabilitation. This is simply unacceptable.

“Worse still – A deal was already in place to refurb and sell the pool to Ranjith Mahamani, meaning the pool could have re-opened in just a matter of months. That deal was pulled at the last minute, which is an appalling way to treat a local businessman.

“We are a council that respects people and we have fallen well short of the standards we aim to set and achieve.”

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Councillor Nick Sandford, the leader of the Lib Dems, said: “This pool is a vital resource for many people with long term medical conditions. We were told a year ago that a sale had been agreed that would guarantee continued community use but now the council seems to be backing out of that in favour of another project that does not even have planning permission and may take a year or more to deliver.

Cllr Fox said: “This whole thing has been handled in a very shabby and unprofessional way in my opinion. It is not about politics it is about the users and they have to be our first priority. Their needs have to be our main objective before any of our own individual political persuations.”

Julie Howell, the leader of the Greens, added: “I don’t understand why this has come to pass so soon after we were reassured that the hydrotherapy pool sale was on track to go through with no problems foreseen. The result of this sudden change of heart on the part of the council has been to compound the stress and isolation that many users of this invaluable service were already feeling after many months of shielding during the pandemic.”

The Mayor has seven days to accept the call for an Extraordinary Council Meeting. Failing this, any five members of the council, on that refusal or on the expiration of those seven days, may forthwith call an extraordinary meeting of the council.


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