Henfield Leisure Centre loan agreed

JPCT 090514 S14381703x Henfield Leisure Centre. HDC are giving a loan of �300k to Henfield Leisure Centre for a children's play area. Councillor Sheila Matthews shakes hands with Barrie Mitchell, president of Henfield and District Sports Association. With fellow member, wife Shirely Mitchell  and staff/management at the leisure centre -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141009-085447001
JPCT 090514 S14381703x Henfield Leisure Centre. HDC are giving a loan of �300k to Henfield Leisure Centre for a children's play area. Councillor Sheila Matthews shakes hands with Barrie Mitchell, president of Henfield and District Sports Association. With fellow member, wife Shirely Mitchell and staff/management at the leisure centre -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141009-085447001
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Henfield Leisure Centre is to be provided with the funds for a children’s soft play area after Horsham District Council agreed to supply a loan of £300,000.

The total cost of the leisure centre’s project, which is to build an extension to house and furnish the soft play area, is estimated at £350,000.

The leisure centre’s management committee applied to the council for funding assistance, and members debated the issue at a council meeting on Wednesday September 3.

Sheila Matthews (Ind, Henfield) threw her support behind the loan and urged members to vote in favour of the scheme.

She said: “I am sure you will agree with me that this is a fantastic project to take forward.

“It would be a great advantage to young mothers to meet up and mix with other young children, because we have hundreds of new houses coming to Henfield and we are looking into anything that would be for the younger mums in the community.

“It will serve a huge population.”

Mrs Matthews added that villagers needed a soft play facility closer to home.

She said: “The nearest soft play areas are Brighton and Crawley and that is a costly outing to take children on buses.

“A lot of young mothers don’t have the transport to get them to those facilities.”

Gordon Lindsay (Con, Billingshurst and Shipley) told members 2,500 children aged under 12 would use the soft play area.

Christine Costin (LDem, Trafalgar) said: “I want to echo Councillor Matthews’ glee about this because soft play for young kids is absolutely wonderful - Henfield deserves this.

“It is somewhere to go and you don’t have to run off to Crawley, so this is a fantastic initiative.”

Members unanimously agreed to supply a loan of £300,000 to the leisure centre, repayable over a period of seven to ten years.

The project has been allocated £50,000 by the Planning Obligations Panel.

The leisure centre has completed repayments on a £117,000 loan from HDC taken out in 2001/02.