Controversial Halifax swimming pool plans to be discussed at full council

Calls to alter plans for a new swimming pool, to return to council offices and on local MPs to back a climate change bill will be debated by councillors.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 7:00 am
Artist impression of the new Halifax swimming pool and leisure centre
Artist impression of the new Halifax swimming pool and leisure centre

Motions will be debated by the full meeting of Calderdale Council when it returns to Halifax Town Hall next Wednesday, September 22, from 6pm.

The meeting is being held in the building’s larger Victoria Hall rather than the council chamber but marks a full council return to the building for the first time since the first COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

Some committee meetings requiring councillors to meet in person have been held there but Mayor-making in May and full council in July were held at Halifax Minster to allow social distancing.

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Among motions proposers hope will become courses of action the council will take include a Liberal Democrat call for the council to revise plans for a swimming pool to be included in the new leisure centre at North Bridge, Halifax.

Proposer Coun Sue Holdsworth (Lib Dem, Greetland and Stainland) argues that to build a pool not long enough for international competitions or deep enough for synchronised swimming is “short sighted in the extreme” and suggests savings could be made by scrapping a proposed cafe as there are a number a short walk away.

Her motion also calls for including more “pool fun” aspects such as slides which might attract more custom.

A Labour motion seeks to address national and local aspects of climate change, urging Government and local MPs – Conservative Craig Whittaker (Calder Valley) and Labour’s Holly Lynch (Halifax) – to support a private member’s bill introduced to Parliament by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas calling on the Government to develop an emergency strategy to reach carbon reduction by 2040 rather than 2050.

In his motion Cabinet member for Climate Change Coun Scott Patient (Lab, Luddenden Foot) also calls on the council to continue its own work, with an emphasis on leading by providing advice to local communties and businesses on steps they can take.

“A clear set of messages” is required to help people in Calderdale play their part, he says.

Conservative group leader Coun Steven Leigh (Con, Ryburn) proposes the council should get its staff back into offices following a “premature” decision to close some buildings during the pandemic.

Coun Leigh argues an effect of homeworking, which he says was a correct decision earlier in the pandemic, becoming “a new normal” has impacted on services including planning and also on the high street where staff provided “significant” footfall for local shops.

Additionally, as MPs are meeting in the House of Commons and mass gatherings including concerts and sports allowed, councillors should be able to return to the council chamber itself, he says.

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