Decisions will be made on evidence
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.