Laurie Magowan and I took the rare step of successfully 'calling in' the Cornwall Council decision to close Ships and Castles today. A legal process where the Council are forced to look again at a decision they've made if the Council's chief legal officer agrees it wasn't done properly. This is the first time a Call-In has been accepted in this or the last administration of the Council.
It forces the council's scrutiny committee to reconsider the decision to close the pool. That process will take place on Monday 28 March.
We decided to call-in the decision made by Cabinet because we felt the negative impacts on the community were not fully considered, with the closure of Ships and Castles, discriminating against people in our communities who won’t be able to access alternative swimming pools. The decision also goes against several of Cornwall Council’s own ambitions to improve health, wellbeing and the environment”.
Concerns about the impact on school children, families and long term users of the leisure centre were raised at a heated Cabinet meeting on 4 March. Members of the public were angered by the lack of answers to a number of questions relating to residents of Falmouth and Penryn having no access to a public swimming pool. I am pleased that the scrutiny committee is going to look again at this decision. I don't think full consideration of the bids to take over the pool or the wishes of the community in Falmouth were properly taken into account in the original cabinet decision.
It may be that the review of the original decision will not prevent the closure of Ships and Castles on 31 March, but it’s an important step to ensure transparency and accountability are maintained.