LETTER: Important part of leisure provision

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ONE MIGHT question the intention of the council on the disposal of the leisure centre. Is there truly no need for this facility when taking into account the wide range of clubs, members and other ad hoc users of the centre or is this merely a case of short term financial gain to the council at the cost of a longer term deficiency in leisure provision to the north of the district?

The leisure centre was built as a district facility, however has evolved over time to form part of an important local leisure provision, well used by the community.

The Leisure Futures Study neglects to fully assess future housing growth, the sustainability of people travelling further to use other facilities, lack of suitable existing facilities to relocate clubs, the cost of private gyms, the implications for gym users with Leisure Access Cards, the GP referral scheme, lack of investment in the centre over the years, community value and future funding through the Community Infrastructure Levy.

Not to mention being a departure from the council’s District Plan 2011- 2015 of improving health and well being.

Potential population increase will put even greater pressure on leisure provision.

The Government has already given a clear presumption in favour of housing growth through the National Planning Policy Framework.

Although work on preparing a Core Strategy Review has temporarily halted, potential sites included North Horsham, Chesworth and West of Southwater, not to mention the planning permission already granted for 2,000 homes on land surrounding the centre.

Developer contributions from future developments will not be able to fund anything like the facilities that are currently at the centre, leading to poor leisure provision in the future.

Why is Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre the seemingly already done deal chosen cut to services? Is the real answer that Tesco wants to expand its store by 30,000 sq ft as set out in ‘The Future Prosperity of Horsham, Town Framework’ and that convenience food stores pay the highest premium for land?

This facility should not be lost.

HELEN SISSONS

Misbrooks Green Road, Capel, Surrey