Baths raided by van­dals 3 times a week

Yobs ham­per­ing com­mu­nity ef­forts to re­open pool

Rossendale Free Press - - Front Page - stE­fan jajEcznyk ste­fan.jajecznyk@reach­plc.com @sja­jecznykMEN

EF­FORTS to re­open Hasling­den Pool are being ham­pered by yobs – with van­dals tar­get­ing the pool up to three times EV­ERY WEEK, it has been re­vealed.

Helpers have hit out af­ter dis­cov­er­ing of­fen­sive graf­fiti and mes­sages had been daubed on the walls of the baths, which closed in 2013 – adding thou­sands of pounds to the over­all re­pair bill.

In one sick­en­ing mes­sage, yobs have mocked the ef­forts of vol­un­teers by daub­ing ‘#Love Hassy Try Harder’ in an ap­par­ent jibe at the #Love Hasling­den hash­tag.

This week saw the lat­est meet­ing by the group be­hind at­tempts to bring the pool back into use and it was de­scribed by coun­cil leader Alyson Barnes as ‘very pos­i­tive’.

Steve Mar­shall, a com­mit­tee mem- ber of the group which has been work­ing to re­store the build­ing, said the po­lice are aware of the in­ci­dents and visited the East Bank Av­enue site last week.

He said: “We’ve had cop­per theft, gen­eral van­dal­ism, break­ing win­dows and paint­ing on the walls - we think it’s kids. The site is locked up, but they’re very in­ge­nious and com­ing in through the roof and drop­ping down into a court­yard.”

STE­FAN JAJECZNYK

VOL­UN­TEERS who are restor­ing Hasling­den pool have told how the his­toric build­ing is being plagued by ‘mind­less’ van­dal­ism - with up to THREE in­ci­dents a week.

Helpers have hit out af­ter dis­cov­er­ing of­fen­sive graf­fiti and mes­sages had been daubed on the walls of the baths, closed since 2013, in the most recent at­tack on May 30.

They have es­ti­mated that the spate of van­dal­ism has added thou­sands of pounds to the over­all re­pair bill, although they have not yet fully as­sessed the ex­tent of dam­age.

Steve Mar­shall, a com­mit­tee mem­ber from the group who have been work­ing to re­store the build­ing, said the po­lice are aware of the in­ci­dents and visited the East Bank Av­enue site last week. He said: “We’ve had cop­per theft, gen­eral van­dal­ism, break­ing win­dows and paint­ing on the walls - we think it’s kids.

“The site is locked up, but they’re very in­ge­nious and com­ing in through the roof and drop­ping down into a court­yard.

“It’s hap­pen­ing vir­tu­ally two or three times a week.”

The Free Press pre­vi­ously re­ported in De­cem­ber 2017 how van­dals had bro­ken into the build­ing, scat­ter­ing tins of paint into the newly-tiled pool and had spilled roof­ing tar around the build­ing.

While Steve says the lat­est dam­age is not neces- sar­ily de­lay­ing the project, it has been us­ing up pre­cious funds needed to con­tinue the restora­tion.

He said: “It’s been quiet for a while but started up again over the last few months. It adds ex­tra cost - it’s a work in progress but it’s all com­ing along slowly.”

Coun Mar­i­lyn Proc­tor, ward coun­cil­lor for Wors­ley, was dis­ap­pointed to hear about the ‘mind­less’ dam­age. She said: “It’s shock­ing and dis­ap­point­ing that peo­ple aren’t re­spect­ing the hard work that all the vol­un­teers have been putting in.

“It’s mind­less van­dal­ism re­ally - a to­tal lack of re­spect for the build­ing and what peo­ple are try­ing to do.”

It was ini­tially hoped the pool would be re-opened at the end of 2015, but the restora­tion has been dogged by de­lays.

Last Oc­to­ber Rossendale coun­cil and The Hasling­den Baths Com­mu­nity In­ter­est Com­pany (CIC) set out plans for a com­mu­nity share scheme to raise £200,000, which would ‘un­lock’ £100,000 of pledged coun­cil money.

Ma­jor re­pair works were put on hold af­ter coun­cil bosses knocked back a re­quest from vol­un­teers for fur­ther sig­nif­i­cant coun­cil fund­ing.

The lat­est meet­ing be­tween vol­un­teers from the baths and coun­cil took place on Tues­day, June 5. This was de­scribed as ‘very pos­i­tive’ by coun­cil leader Alyson Barnes.

Some of the mess left by the van­dals

●● Some of the graf­fiti found by vol­un­teers at Hasling­den pool

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