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Manchester Liberal Democrats delight at ‘U-turn’ over plans to close swimming pools across city

By John McDougall

The decision by Manchester City Council to keep swimming baths across the city has been backed by the city’s Liberal Democrats.

John Leech MP has led the flurry of positive messages following the news Levenshulme, Miles Platting and Withington will remain open until 2015.

Admitting his joy at hearing the news, the Manchester Withington MP is adamant hard work still needs to be done to save libraries destined for closure this year.  

“I congratulate local people for forcing Labour to listen,” Mr Leech said. “I welcome this u-turn, which busts Labour’s lie that they couldn’t afford to keep these services open.

“I urge Labour to make the right choices for Manchester and keep front line services like local libraries and the Chorlton Warden services open.”

All three baths – deemed to be too old by the council – were due to close this year, which would have left residents with no facilities until 2015.

Though new £10million facilities in both Levenshulme and Hough End are on the horizon, the closures were vehemently opposed by community groups and councillors alike.

Alternative funding arrangements have included the use of public health money to ensure the swimming pools now stay open until the new centres are ready. 

James Hennigan, a Levenshulme Liberal Democrat councillor who gathered more than 2,500 signatures opposing the closures, feels the area’s immense community spirit forced the council to change their plans.

“I want to say a big thank you to everyone for signing the petitions and lobbying the council,” he told MM.

“I welcome the use of public health money, direct money given from the government that I have lobbied should be used for Levenshulme Baths.

“The community campaign has helped the Council see sense but the campaign is not over as the future of the Library is still in doubt.

“I’ve always argued that it does not make any sense to close the library or the baths before any new facility is open and up and running.”

The fight to save libraries destined for closure in Burnage, Fallowfield, Levenshulme, Miles Platting, New Moston and Northenden goes on.

Broadway pool meanwhile is still due to shut as part of the £80million worth of funding cuts Manchester City Council need to make over the following two years.

Image courtesy of Google Maps, with thanks

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