My local city council has been controlled by the same party since the mid 1980s. The leading councillors of that party want to build a leisure centre in an inappropriate place in the centre of the city and reduce the size of the bus & coach station, which would share the site. They also want to reduce traffic congestion so plan to raise the cost of parking and look into introducing a congestion charge. (They do not hold the portfolio for transports, which falls within the county council’s responsibility.)
The cost of the leisure centre was initially around £20m, then rose to £26-30m due to Brexit and is now thought to be £40m. All this without the tender being awarded to a developer. The cost so far to the council tax payers is already around £5m+.
They say that the local swimming pool is ‘past it’s sell by date’, as is the bus station. Both come under the councils responsibility for upkeep and maintenance, which they haven’t done for approx. 15 years on the basis of this planned scheme.
Last weekend, at a Civic Society meeting the portfolio holder who is leading this development said that a refurbishment of the bus station had not been considered, but he wouldn’t be taking that suggestion back to the council. The proposed pool will only be 25m and the venue would not be able to hold the galas that are currently held at the old swimming pool due to lack of space. The swimming club would like a 50m pool with a much larger variety of features for a wider range of users. The opposition party support this and have identified a site that has better transport links and others that can be improved and developed – keeping the pool users away from the city centre. Again the portfolio holder said that it hadn’t been considered, nor would it.
We are the only local authority in the county to not have a sports facility or playing pitch strategy, so none of our local sports clubs can apply for grants from their individual sports governing bodies.
The council leader has been quoted on more than one occasion ‘if you want a 50m pool, you can always travel to………’ He and his main supporters seem to have complete contempt for anyone who doesn’t agree with them and refuse to listen to suggestions or ideas of the electorate.
What can we do to obtain a vote of no confidence?