Friday, July 15, 1966

WORK will start on Radcliffe's new swimming public baths next month.

The scheme is more than a year behind schedule because of the national credit squeeze, but Whitehall has now told Radcliffe Council to go ahead with the project.

The contractors, Thomas Croft and Sons Ltd, hope to move onto the site in a few weeks' time.

The council's plan for a quick start on the modern, championship-style baths were halted last October when loan sanction was refused, in line with the government's freezing of civic projects throughout the country.

Radcliffe Council protested the decision and claimed that preparatory work was too far advanced to be called to a halt.

The Ministry initially turned down that plea and postponed the project indefinitely. Permission was later given for the council to borrow £25,888 to cover expenditure on architect's fees and steelworks, which had already been incurred by the local authority.

However, the year-long delay will mean a substantial rise in the cost of the new baths, which were initially projected to cost almost £210,000.

The scheme was revived in May when the government told the council that, if satisfactory terms could be re-negotiated with contractors, they would give the go-ahead for the start of the work.

A final figure has not been announced, with further negotiations due to take place with sub-contractors in the coming days, but Whitehall officials have been satisfied enough with the council's actions to sanction the work.

The baths will take around 18 months to complete and should be finished in early 1968.

Alderman Richard Fletcher said: "We hope to see the men working on the site in about five weeks' time.

"It was very disappointing when the scheme was halted at the last moment, particularly as we had spent about £25,000 on the baths without even a brick to show for it.

"I think our MP, David Ensor, helped us. He has been in constant touch with the Ministry about the project.

"I am very pleased indeed that we can now go ahead."

Plans for the new baths were first drawn up when it became apparent that the cost of modernising the Whittaker Street swimming pool would be too high, in view of the limited lifetime of the structure.