SPIR­ITS SUNK BY POOL NEWS

Rossendale Free Press - - Your Views -

AS I hurtle through my au­tumn years one of life’s small plea­sures is read­ing the RFP whilst en­joy­ing my break­fast on a Thurs­day morn­ing.

My in­dul­gence was marred last week with the head­line news that Hasling­den Swim­ming Baths will never re-open (‘Bid to save pool is dead in the wa­ter’, Oc­to­ber 12) and the ar­ti­cle on page 5 which in­formed us that RBC’s long awaited ac­counts for 2014/15 have fi­nally been signed off by Grant Thorn­ton, al­beit with a damn­ing in­dict­ment of an ad­verse value for money judge­ment (‘‘Damn­ing’ au­dit into coun­cil’s ac­counts’, Oc­to­ber 12).

The news on the swim­ming baths is dev­as­tat­ing for lo­cal peo­ple and es­pe­cially those en­thu­si­as­tic cam­paign­ers who have worked valiantly to re­store the fa­cil­ity for the com­mu­nity.

We should not for­get that the need for their en­deav­ours ought never to have arisen.

The Labour con­trolled RBC (un­der the lead­er­ship of Coun­cil­lor Alyson Barnes) usurped the money specif­i­cally bor­rowed for the sole pur­pose of build­ing a su­perb new swim­ming fa­cil­ity at Hasling­den Leisure Cen­tre and used it to pur­chase the Val­ley Cen­tre in Rawten­stall, prior to de­mo­li­tion.

In con­so­la­tion the good folk of Hasling­den and Helmshore were promised a booby prize – the restora­tion of the ex­ist­ing pool and build­ing.

I do not in­tend to dwell on the cir­cum­stances of the de­layed au­dit, the de­tails of which in­volve the Coun­cil ap­pointed, liq­ui­dated re­fur­bish­ment com­pany, AAAW Ltd and the sub­se­quent po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Suf­fice to say, this is a hu­mil­i­a­tion for the peo­ple of Rossendale whose elected Labour coun­cil­lors ev­i­dently suf­fer from the ages old So­cial­ist Dis­ease – run­ning out of other peo­ple’s money.

The ap­pro­pri­ate and fa­mil­iar adage “The Buck Stops Here” has been re­futed by Ms Barnes, who re­peat­edly shuns re­spon­si­bil­ity for fidu­ciary man­age­ment.

How­ever, the vot­ers of Rossendale have the ideal chance to do some­thing about it at the Lo­cal Elec­tions in May 2019. John H Lowe Bent Meadow House Helmshore

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