WITH reference to Mr Waite's letter concerning the Barbican (April 20), the deal with Absolute Leisure to run the centre is a good one for the city's council taxpayers.

It was tested in open competition and represented the best of 11 bids received. It provides:

£2.5 million of much needed investment into the building

Guarantees over keeping the building available as an entertainment venue for York residents

Keeping the auditorium and enhancing the programme of activity

An upfront payment to the council

A significant annual saving in running costs.

This lease is not at all like a freehold sale because it binds Absolute Leisure to a number of commitments, gives the council control over the future use of the building, and ensures that it continues to be available for the residents of York.

The deal represents a big saving for the council because the Barbican is very expensive to run. For example, the rates bill alone is £325,000 a year.

Mr Waite complains that Charlie Croft has not been elected. The deal with Absolute Leisure for the refurbishment of the auditorium was agreed by the previous Labour administration and confirmed by the current Liberal Democrat administration.

Coun Keith Orrell,

Executive member for leisure and heritage,

Trent Avenue,



...IN a short period of time, the Save Our Barbican campaign managed to collect more than 6,000 signatures for its petition against the closure of the Barbican.

This demonstrates the strength of feeling that exists about the loss of well-used public swimming and sports facilities.

Coun Orrell's only response to this is to claim that some Barbican users see the council's redevelopment proposals as an improvement (April 21).

Perhaps Coun Orrell can tell us exactly how many Barbican users he has found who actually support the Liberal Democrats' plans. I suspect the only supporters he actually has are his fellow Liberal Democrat Councillors.

Danny Golding,

Albemarle Road,


...ALTHOUGH I now live in Norfolk I was brought up in York and visit frequently to see my parents.

Both my parents are keen swimmers and whenever we visit, my daughter and myself enjoy a swim with them at the Barbican pool.

I am somewhat saddened to learn that this facility is to close shortly. We have been swimming three times this week and on each occasion there were plenty of people using the pool.

Although I am not resident here, I wanted to add my voice to those who are fighting for this facility to remain until the promised new community pool is open.

York is a large city and the remaining two pools are not enough to satisfy demand. Yes I have added my name to the petition and encourage others to do likewise. You never know, it may make a difference.

Mrs S Dixon,

Rosemary Way,

Downham Market,


Updated: 11:08 Friday, April 23, 2004