Letter for publication: diving facilities at Copthall

I was rather surprised to see the Conservatives’  amendment at last week’s Council meeting, arguing  the Mayor should fund diving facilities at Copthall; and  seeking my involvement to promote  this, without first notifying me, or indeed the Mayor,  before doing so.  This smacks more of a crude Party Political attempt to divert attention from the Conservatives’ failure to respond to the public’s concerns, rather than a genuine attempt to find a solution.


So far, they have not had any contact with the Mayor or his office whatsoever about this, presumably  because they know full well such funding would be  outside his powers, and so  any Mayoral expenditure would probably be unlawful. Responsibility for delivering local leisure facilities such as Copthall lies at the door of the Council, as it always has (apart from the Olympics), as I am sure they well know. The only such capital spending permitted in the past was on 2012 Olympics associated projects, for which special legislation was passed.


As your readers may recall, after the Olympics were awarded to London, as the then MP for Hendon, I approached the Council to see what we should bid for and offered to help. Indeed I actually proposed that Copthall could well benefit from Olympics based investment at the time. However, such was their hostility to the Olympics, the Conservatives  failed to bid  for any Olympics funding whatsoever: a real missed opportunity, which if successfully taken up at the time might have provided an answer to the  present ‘diving’ predicament.


However, it just so happens that I had already asked the Mayor about how he could best help through what advice he could offer. He suggested  the Council  should “work with London Sport, Sport England and other stakeholders, including the sport’s governing body, to identify ways in which opportunities for people to continue to take part in diving can be supported.” Have they done any of this?


This might be a better way of trying to save the diving facilities at Copthall, instead of this rather pathetic attempt to dodge the Conservatives’ failure by trying to shift responsibility to the Mayor to get them out of the hole they have dug for themselves.


Yours sincerely


Andrew Dismore AM

Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden