Unfit for a king

photo(5)The drawn out saga of what to do with this crumbling ruin, illustrate nothing but how the planning system and the concept of listing buildings can conspire to create nothing but stagnation.

King’s Meadow swimming baths spent around 70 years in use, then 30 years doing nothing, then for the last ten it’s been the centre of a wrangle in which everyone has lost. Campaigners fought to save it, got it listed… and then nothing.

The council is now getting serious about what do to with it and while campaigners say the fight goes on, they have stopped accepting donations and the future looks to be more in the hands of the council and a developer than the locals who’ve spent a decade battling for it.

If it could have become a great community facility, as protestors wanted, then great. But the council, for whatever reason, want to do something else.

It now has a fence around it and scaffolding inside. It’s more a ruin than ever. Time has surely come, not only to act decisively – like knocking it down – but to use this experience to stop similar disastrous indecision around the country.

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About Alan Bunce

Freelance journalist Former Community Editor with the Reading Post. Former Business Editor with the Reading Chronicle.
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