'Botched' Reading council pool sale falls through

Arthur Hill Memorial Baths in Reading Image copyright Google
Image caption Arthur Hill Memorial Baths opened on 29 November 1911

Campaigners have criticised a council's "botched" attempt at selling a community swimming pool to property developers after its sale fell through.

Reading Council chose OOAK Developments as its preferred bidder for the Arthur Hill pool site in June last year.

But council leader Jason Brock said talks had been "discontinued", adding the situation was "regrettable".

Arthur Hill campaigner Peter Burt urged the council to hold a public consultation on the future of the site.

He said: "Unfortunately, it comes as no surprise that the council's botched and secretive plans to sell the site have come a cropper.

"The first thing the council must do now is consult with local people over the future of the Arthur Hill site, rather than push ahead with unworkable plans to sell the site for development."

Image caption The Arthur Hill Campaign group has protested against the council's decision to sell the pool

The pool building on Kings Road was built in 1911 on land donated for community use by the family of Arthur Hill, the mayor of Reading between 1883 and 1887.

It was closed in December 2016 after councillors deemed it too expensive to maintain and decided to sell.

The Information Commissioner ordered the council in May to release details of the previously proposed £1.15m deal after the authority had refused, claiming such details were "commercially sensitive".

Mr Brock said the council would "continue to consider the re-use of the site for housing, including council housing key worker housing, or other affordable housing provision".

He added the authority was committed to providing a new pool in east Reading.

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