LETTER: ‘why the haste?’

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ALTHOUGH my views on the closure of Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre have been well covered by the County Times, I feel obliged to respond to Conservative councillor Jim Rae’s letter and his assertion that to retain the BBHLC would require a 17 per cent increase in council tax.

This is nothing more than scaremongering calculated to hide the fact that no well considered case has been put forward justifying the proposal to demolish the centre. It has not yet been demonstrated that £1.3m to £1.5m does need to be spent.

Whatever the true figure it is not a sum to be spent in one year but an estimated cost over five years and if spent wisely should represent the main maintenance cost over the next ten years. Is £150,000 per year over ten years too much to pay for a facility that serves such a wide community need?

I have no doubt that if this facility was kept there would be no increase in council tax; there are always other policy options.

The Pavilions, Billingshurst Swimming Pool and Steyning Leisure Centre will all have significant maintenance costs in the future. Are these all to be demolished too?

It is very sad that while the majority of councillors within both parties are asking questions and seeking information both within the community and within the council so that a sensible and informed decision can be made that considers community needs, related costs and issues concerning the site, he has chosen to debase the debate with ludicrous suggestions.

Finally, why the haste to push this proposal through?

Could it be that the justification for the proposals is so weak, with its central allegation of over-provision in the north of the district, that the cabinet does not want to allow time for the consideration and evaluation of other options that could be proposed?

Another case of we know what’s best for you? I’ll leave it to you to decide.

MALCOLM CURNOCK

(LDem) Horsham district councillor for Broadbridge Heath

North Street, Horsham