Oxford MailBid to save Temple Cowley Pool thrown out by judge (From Oxford Mail)

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Bid to save Temple Cowley Pool thrown out by judge

Oxford Mail: Van Coulter Van Coulter

CAMPAIGNERS are appealing a High Court judge’s rejection of their bid to save Temple Cowley Pools .

Nigel Gibson, a member of the Save Temple Cowley Pools, had his case for a judicial review of Oxford City Council ’s decision to demolish the facility thrown out by the judge last month.

But Mr Gibson last night said he had appealed the dismissal and the whole matter is now due to be heard at the High Court in December.

Oxford City Council wants to demolish Temple Cowley Pools and replace it with a new £9.2m swimming pool in Blackbird Leys.

The council says Temple Cowley Pools is ageing and in a bad state of repair which means building a new facility would reduce annual running costs by £300,000.

But campaigners claim it would be cheaper to refurbish the existing pool and say more people will have to drive to get to the proposed new pool. They also argue there is no evidence of demand for the pool in Blackbird Leys.

The application for the judicial review was filed last year on the grounds the city council had not properly consulted about the closure of the pools.

In throwing out the case, Mr Justice Williams said: “I have reached my conclusion, essentially, be-cause I accept the validity of the arguments presented on behalf of (Oxford City Council).”

The judge’s decision was not heard in an open hearing and Mr Gibson said he was appealing on that basis.

The December hearing will be in open court.

Mr Gibson denied it was a setback.

The Headington resident said: “The judge said he was minded to agree with the council.

“But the council is arguing on a very technical point about whether the judicial review application was made in time.

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“The council has not consulted the groups which will be affected by the closure.”

It is the latest in a long battle by Save Temple Cowley Pools to overturn the city council’s decision.

City councillor Van Coulter, executive board member for leisure services, said: “It is a little frustrating that the court time is being taken up with so many administrative judgements like this.

“We just have to be patient and get our day in court.

“The new pool is wonderfully-designed and it has got planning permission.

“I would dearly love to see it built.”

The Blackbird Leys pool was hailed as part of plans for Oxford’s “Olympic legacy” for swimming but is has now stalled indefinitely. It had been hoped the new pool would open this month.

The new pool would have had a 25 metre main pool with a moveable floor, teaching pool, toddler’s splash pool, sauna and soft play area.

It has already been funded, has planning permission and contractor Willmott Dixon has signed a contract for the work.

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