De­ci­sions will be made on ev­i­dence

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - Coun­cil­lor Rowena Hay Oak­ley

THERE’S been a lot of spec­u­la­tion about the fu­ture of the Lido re­cently, I want to take this op­por­tu­nity to set the record straight.

The first thing to say is that con­trary to the in­ac­cu­rate claims and in­nu­endo from some lo­cal politi­cians, we won’t be do­ing any­thing to put the Lido at risk.

It’s not go­ing to close on our watch. We won’t al­low any­thing to happen that makes it less ac­ces­si­ble for lo­cal peo­ple ei­ther.

The Lido Trust has done a bril­liant job run­ning the Lido since it took over in 1996.

The rea­son the coun­cil setup the Trust was be­cause a not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion is in a much bet­ter po­si­tion to run this sort of her­itage as­set.

But the coun­cil still owns the land on which the Lido is lo­cated.

The dis­cus­sions now are be­cause the 25-year lease for the land is com­ing to an end in 2021.

It’s re­ally im­por­tant that we get a new long-term lease in place to en­able the Lido Trust to make long-term fi­nan­cial plans.

What we are do­ing now will help that happen, not make it more dif­fi­cult.

As cabi­net mem­ber for fi­nance I have a le­gal and moral re­spon­si­bil­ity to scru­ti­nize how coun­cil prop­erty is used. I ap­pre­ci­ate the frus­tra­tion in some quar­ters, even if I wanted to take a slap­dash ap­proach to how pub­licly owned land was be­ing leased and wave through a new agree­ment, I wouldn’t be able to.

Laws set by West­min­ster politi­cians mean that a for­mal, le­gal process must be fol­lowed and due dili­gence ap­plied.

We have a duty to treat all third sec­tor or­gan­i­sa­tions equally – that ap­plies to smaller or­gan­i­sa­tions like com­mu­nity groups run­ning scout huts, just as it ap­plies to our big­ger or­gan­i­sa­tions run­ning na­tion­ally sig­nif­i­cant build­ings like the Lido.

The fact is that un­til now we haven’t had all the de­tails on the value of the site.

Now we have, we can make the key fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions based on the fi­nances, the main­te­nance re­quired and the pos­si­bil­i­ties for im­prov­ing the site. The de­ci­sion we make will be based on the ev­i­dence avail­able, noth­ing more.

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