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Star comment: We need full story over Shrewsbury pool

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

When it comes to the potential sale value of the Quarry swimming pool in Shrewsbury, Shropshire Council thinks that the town's residents don't need to know.

And it thinks that if they did know, it would blur the focus which should instead be on the consultation under way with the public over a variety of options for the future shape of the county town's swimming facilities.

There is, then, a difference in view between Councillor Alan Mosley, leader of Shrewsbury Town Council, who says the information should feature in the consultation on where swimming facilities are based, and Shropshire Council's deputy leader Councillor Steve Charmley, who says listening to the views of the public is of greater importance and that in any event no work has been done in regard to the land value.

So the bottom line may turn out to be that, currently, nobody knows the value anyway.

Shropshire Council has been refreshingly open so far in presenting facts and figures to the public to help them make a judgment. They include the costs and even the projected precise attendance figures under the various options. That is one heck of a crystal ball.

At issue is whether the value of the current Quarry site is relevant, and whether it should be thrown into the mix. Well, if the pool is to stay at a refurbished Quarry site, then maybe it isn't relevant, because that means it will not be sold and does not have potential to generate revenue through being flogged off.

There again, those who think abandoning the Quarry and having a new pool built elsewhere might be very interested to know how much of the cost could be offset through cash from the sale of the Quarry site. If it generated peanuts, it would be neither here nor there. If it was to turn out, however, that selling the Quarry might generate millions of pounds, it would influence the perception of the viability and desirability of the option of pulling the plug at the Quarry.

With the state of public finances as they are, what Shrewsbury folk would like to do in principle cannot be divorced from financial reality, and the fact that the options being put before them are all costed is a recognition of that.

This is an important decision. What can be wrong with a consultation in which the public are in possession of all the facts?

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