Barnet Council ‘solely responsible for diving fiasco’

Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden Andrew Dismore has said Barnet Council Leader Cllr Richard Cornelius is “desperately deflecting blame” in his efforts to ask the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to pay for the diving facilities at Copthall that the Council scrapped.


In a response to a written question from Mr Dismore, Khan responded that:


‘Barnet Council is responsible for the decision it has taken regarding diving at the Copthall Centre and must be accountable for that decision. I do not have funding to build a new diving facility in Barnet and it would have been advisable for the Council to have checked that before taking its decision , otherwise there is a danger of raising false hope among local people.


However, I am happy to see what can be done to support diving in the area and have agreed that staff from the GLA Sport Team meet the Council and Sport England to see what steps can be taken with this in mind.’


Mr Dismore commented:


‘We have heard from the Mayor that Barnet Council did not bother to consult him before saying that he should help pay for the diving facilities so cruelly cut by Cllr Cornelius. The fact is he was never in a position to do so, and it is well outside his remit. Cllr Cornelius’s indulgence in petty political posturing was never going to get anything done, other than deflect attention from his own serious error of judgement.


‘I am pleased that the campaigners have set up a committee to look at how they can acquire funding, which is very magnanimous, but I still think it is the duty of the council to deliver these services and that they are not fulfilling their duties.