NEWS that Horsham District Council has done a U-turn on plans to shut and demolish Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre have been met with public jubilation.
Sheila White, of the leisure centre’s Over 50s group – who was due to present a 7,000-signature protest petition to the council tonight – said: “This is fantastic news. It seems that this huge upsurge of opinion has turned things round.”
She said that she thought the council had been taken aback by the vast amount of public support for the centre.
“It seems that the council didn’t really realise how many people use the centre and how many people set store by it – they just didn’t realise what it means to the local community.”
And in a comment left on the West Sussex County Times web-site after the newspaper revealed the council’s U-turn, Sheila added: “It’s good to know that our council members have taken time to reflect on their cabinet’s original recommendation to close and then demolish the leisure centre. It’s good to know they want to have all the relevant facts and figures in front of them before they make such a momentous decision.
“However, although this may be a reprieve, I note the recommendation to remove the centre from the Leisure Contract, so there is still a huge black cloud hanging over the future of the BBHLC. The fight to save the leisure centre for the community will go on.”
Former gym instructor Nicky Moynihan – who set up an e-petition to save the centre when he first heard the closure plans – said the council U-turn was “just brilliant news. Brilliant.”
Keith May, chairman of the Horsham Blue Star Harriers, said he was pleased and was looking forward to working with the council to come to a solution on the whole issue.
“It’s about what’s best for the users of the centre,” he said.
“It doesn’t have to be run by whoever gets the management contract.
“There’s a lot of consultation to go through and it’s important that we work closely with other users and the council.
“The result in May could well be the same. We don’t know at the moment.”