The man who fixed the Baths

JUST in case you weren’t digging through the business section, one of the key men at the company behind the beautiful restoration of the Prince of Wales Baths in Kentish Town gave an interview to the Sunday Times at the weekend.

Not only did we learn that James Wates, deputy chairman of the Wates group, chills out to a bit of Coldplay and counts The Blues Brothers as his favourite film, but also that the company gave around £175,000 to the Conservative Party between 2001 and 2010.

He explains in his interview with Oliver Shah: “We’ve taken the view as a family for a long time that the Conservative ethos is the one that’s beneficial to society. It’s individual aspiration. It is about people wanting to do things for themselves rather than being looked after. Interestingly, we always do better under a Labour government, so we should think the other way.”

That last sentence might be a reference to work Wates lost when the current government spiked the Building Schools for the Future programme in many areas. Certainly, you would do well to find a local authority willing to spend £23 million on restoring Victorian swimming pools right now.

7 Comments on The man who fixed the Baths

  1. Richard, you need to remember that the Labour Party in Camden was not willing to fork out this amount of money, but that the Partnership Administration led by the Liberal Democrats was committed to this and went through with the full restoration of the baths after its success at the 2006 elections. It’s about priorities, and we stuck to our promises to the electorate.

  2. Richard Osley // February 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm //

    …for which, the Lib Dems have had lots of praise and a few Kentish Town councillors.

  3. Theo Blackwell // February 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm //

    Wow – well done! That’s an actually lie John, but congrats for perpetuating the myth that we weren’t.

    Camden Labour approached the election committed to KT Baths – this is in the public domain. In the end it came down to a difference between spending £8m on small learners’ pool, or not – a commitment you tried to get out of just after the election!

  4. Richard Osley // February 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm //

    It is true that both parties had pledged to save the pool in their manifesto.

  5. Keith Moffitt // February 14, 2012 at 7:55 pm //

    Run that bit about the learners’ pool past me again, Theo. I was Leader of the Council then and we were very committed indeed to including the learners’ pool, not least because the pool with the moveable floor at Swiss Cottage built under the previous Labour administration proved to be such a nightmare.

    • con. sidekick // February 15, 2012 at 12:54 pm //

      keith mofffitt ; the Fib Dims lost the election as well as their ‘partnership’ ..in more ways than on the ballot boxes.
      Swiss Cottage is a thriving local health complex ; no thanks to the Fib Dims !
      btw – look at the shambles Housing is in, thanks to ‘You’ lot

  6. Theo Blackwell // February 15, 2012 at 6:28 pm //

    Keith – the Sept council meeting in 2006 contained a Corporate Plan which did not have learner’s pool in it, contrary to various promises. I remember pointing this out to you by highlighting what was on your reproduced Focus leaflets (exhibit A) and the Plan (exhibit b) – that style. The learners’ pool then reappeared.

    Freely admit Labour not in favour of the expense of the learners pool which cost £8m in the end – making it the most expensive learners pool about. We saw the moveable floor as VFM.

    IMO Couldve secured a school site for that amount of cash…

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