LETTER: Leisure centre a ‘done deal’

I WONDER what conclusions are being drawn by your readers and, more pertinently, by our councillors, in the light of the heated and ongoing debate over the proposed closure of our leisure centre? I say ‘proposed’ but it seems to me from what I have read and from conversations with several interested parties, that the true position is very different.

All the indications are that this is already pretty much a ‘done deal’, moreover a deal worryingly struck behind closed doors between a few parties with vested interests.

A great number of your correspondents have made and are continuing to make some very valid observations in opposing this plan, but are our councillors listening? The signs are not encouraging. Jonathan Chowen’s recent attempt to justify the closure of the Broadbridge Heath facilities would have been laughable were the consequences of this folly not so serious.

What we are seeing is not local democracy at work, but rather a self-absorbed group of councillors seemingly determined to ignore the facts, to ride roughshod over local opinion and to govern by diktat. I have yet to come across one user of BBHLC who has been consulted about or had the opportunity to provide any meaningful input into what is described as a ‘consultative process’.

The recent hastily convened consultation evening had all the appearance of a smokescreen, conveniently timed and designed to stifle debate and to gloss over numerous uncomfortable facts, leaving those present with the unavoidable impression that the closure decision had already been made.

One just hopes that our voters have long memories, and that if this ridiculous and damaging closure does proceed, that councillors who support this travesty of a democratic process will be turfed out of office come local election time.

We have been airily informed that alternative facilities will be sourced and provided locally. Where exactly? Just where will the countless individuals, clubs, societies and schools who use the BBH facilities be located?

It is crystal clear to anyone with a basic grasp of the facts, that if this proposal goes ahead it will be a hammer blow to the very heart of our local community, with the vital infrastructure upon which this and future generations will depend being destroyed with no viable alternatives in place.

How on earth can any credence be given to a consultant’s report that has been prepared with seemingly no contact whatsoever with the users of the facilities at the centre of the report and that has manifestly failed to come up with any realistic solutions to the immense problems that would result for a growing local community were the report’s recommendations to be implemented.

Now is the time to stand up and be counted. Let us hope that our councillors will see sense, appreciate the outrage that this proposal is causing and that this threatened and quite needless blight on our future will be removed forthwith.

ROBIN THOMAS

Hillside, Horsham