There can be no denying the ambition of city council plans to transform public swimming provision in Birmingham, ranging as they do from the much-debated 50-metre Olympic pool to replacement and refurbishment of smaller baths in the suburbs.
And coming after several decades of under-investment in both maintenance and new-build, the latest strategy will clearly be welcomed by anyone with an interest in swimming.
There is, however, more than a suspicion that in their determination to come up with more prestige public projects, council leaders have not really had time to think through the funding implications for some £90 million-worth of expenditure.
Detailed business plans for the new Harborne baths and for the Birmingham Aquatic and Leisure Centre, otherwise known as the Olympic pool, have not yet been tabled but the opening date for both schemes has already been announced. Even the cabinet member admits he doesn’t know where the money to pay for this is going to come from.
Similarly, little or no detailed work has been carried out into the feasibility of rebuilding Stechford Arcades and Sparkhill baths, yet both schemes have been promoted into phase one of the swimming provision strategy.
It doesn’t take a political genius to work out the reason behind this, with Stechford, Sparkhill and Moseley falling into Liberal Democrat territory that will be at the centre of a dogfight for votes at the next council elections. As for Harborne, the leader of the council just happens to be one of the area councillors.
When the matter returns to cabinet in September, the impact on council tax bills of borrowing to fund the projects must be spelt out along with running and maintenance costs.