Berkshire

Reading swimming pool developer named after 'secrecy' row

Arthur Hill Memorial Baths in Reading Image copyright Other
Image caption The Arthur Hill Memorial Baths opened in November 1911 and closed in December 2016

The winning bidder for a town's swimming pool has been revealed after months of protest over "secrecy" surrounding the sale.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) has agreed to sell the Arthur Hill site to One of a Kind (OOAK) Developments.

The council had refused to name its preferred buyer during the process due to "commercial confidentiality".

Campaigner Peter Burt said: "We've effectively won but that doesn't mean there's not more to be done."

He told the BBC: "We need to know a lot more, what will it be used for, how much has it been sold for, why did the council choose this bid above others, why was it discussed in a secret session?"

But Councillor Graeme Hoskin said RBC was "striving to be as transparent as we possibly can", adding the authority was constrained by "confidentiality and procurement law".

Image caption Campaigners cleaned the council's windows in a previous stunt

The announcement follows a bidding process in 2018, with the preferred bidder agreed in a closed session meeting of the council's policy committee in July.

OOAK owner Arjun Singh Gill is a former schoolboy entrepreneur turned property tycoon.

Born in Berkshire, he went to The Forest School in Winnersh before starting his own estate agency at the age of 17.

Arthur Hill Memorial Baths, on King's Road, was built in 1911 and donated to the community.

The building was closed in December 2016 after RBC said repairs were too costly.

Campaigners had planned to undertake a "document search" at the council offices to find details of the sale of the pool if the council did not reveal it by Friday 25 January.

Mr Burt said the protest group planned to go ahead with the stunt in an effort to gain more details about the deal.

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