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York Labour discover secret decision to cut Yearsley Pool Hours

Attempts by Labour councillors to get public access to a long term financial plan for Yearsley pool have been blocked by ruling Tory-Lib Dem councillors.
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Labour councillors ‘called in’ a behind closed doors  internal council review of Yearsley Pool for scrutiny in advance of its consideration by the ruling Coalition Executive in March.
 
But after little useful information was released in the report to a cross party committee of councillors, Labour councillors managed to extract the agreed recommendation that will go before Executive next month.
 
The private review of Yearsley pool has been undertaken after councillors from the council’s ruling parties combined to terminate a cross party public review of Yearsley pool in mid 2015. 
 
Since that time and after 18 months of investigating various options, the review has recommended reverting back to the option being pursued by the previous Labour administration, but with the key difference of reduced opening hours to the public.
 
Based on an existing annual financial commitment of £300k, and with a 10% reduction in public access, Labour believes £30k is the maximum that could be saved.  But given the pool needs to remain heated and with other costs taken into account, they say the likely saving will be far less, leaving an ongoing annual cost of at least £270k. The Executive Member was unable to explain where this money will be found or what the impact on the Stadium and leisure contract would be.
 
Calling in Member and Labour Group Leader, Coun. Janet Looker said:
 
“Despite efforts to restrict access to vital information with which councillors could consider Yearsley’s long term future, Labour councillors have managed to establish that the option that has been agreed by Executive will be a significant reduction in public access.
 
“It became clear from last night’s meeting that the decision has effectively been taken, and that the pre-decision involvement of councillors last night was pointless.  It was also clear that the decision being recommended to the Executive has been made before due diligence has been completed between GLL and the council, with the council saying it can’t confirm what the savings will be or how it will affect the Stadium and leisure contract.
 
“It appears that after almost two years that the long term future of Yearsley is where it was in May 2015 when the Coalition took control of the council.  After the Coalition’s repeated bungling of the Stadium and leisure contract, this secret decision making process has no confidence amongst councillors of any parties other than those loyal members of the ruling Coalition”. 
 

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