A PUBLIC consultation over where cash from the sale of the Barbican should be spent has been labelled a "stitch-up" by opposition councillors.

Labour councillors have rounded on the plan, by City of York Council chiefs, only to survey residents living in the west of the city.

The consultation will ask whether £4 million from the sale of the Barbican site should be spent on refurbishing the Edmund Wilson Swimming Pool or go towards building a new pool at the Oaklands Sports Centre.

A third option on the survey, which has been sent to 37,000 residents living in west York, is whether the council should build a new pool elsewhere in that part of the city.

Coun Dave Merrett, leader of the Labour group, said: "This is a complete stitch-up and I can't believe they are trying to get away with it.

"The Lib Dems are making sure that they get the answer they want about the future of York's swimming pools by only asking those people who live near where they want it to be. How on earth can this be fair?

"If they are offering people the option of building a pool on another site in the city then they should be giving everybody the chance to have a say where it should be.

"They sold-off the Barbican and deprived people of the only city centre pool and now they are denying those very people their chance to have a say in what will happen to that money."

Green Party campaigner Alan Swain also criticised the survey, saying: "Since the Council's closure of the Barbican, Edmund Wilson has become the closest pool for quite a large number of city centre residents.

"Yet the council clearly believes that our views are worth less when it comes to consultation.

"I can only see this as a form of gerrymandering to get the desired result from the consultation. It's a sham."

But Coun Keith Orrell, executive member for leisure, defended the survey, saying: "I think to say that consulting 37,000 homes is limited is bizarre. This is a very wide consultation of residents who may wish to use a pool in that part of the city."

He added: "How that can be seen as a stitch-up I do not understand."

Two public meetings will be held to discuss the plans at Oaklands on November 28, at 12.30pm and 7pm. More information is on display at Edmund Wilson Pool and Oaklands.

Residents from across the city can also their views online at www.york.gov.uk The deadline for responses is December 5.

Barbican legal bid dismissed

CAMPAIGNERS have lost another crucial round in their battle to halt the controversial redevelopment of York's Barbican Centre.

A judge has dismissed the Save Our Barbican (SOB) campaign's latest legal challenge to the proposals to build a hotel and apartments.

The dispute between SOB and City of York Council flared up after Barbican Venture (York) Ltd secured planning permission for the scheme despite opposition.

Two SOB members - Marjorie Anderson and Robert Urquhart Collins - later challenged the council's decision to grant planning permission in London's High Court, but had their case dismissed by Mr Justice Elias in June last year.

However, the case returned to court yesterday as lawyers mounted a last-ditch bid to revive their challenge in London's Appeal Court. But after a brief hearing, Lord Justice Richards - sitting with Lord Justice Ward - refused permission to appeal, ruling the claim was dogged by delay and so "out of time".