Leisure centre consultation will be ‘open’

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THE COUNCILLOR responsible for looking into options for Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre has said he intends to make the consultation an ‘open process starting from scratch’.

At the latest Horsham District Council full council meeting, Jonathan Chowen (Con, Cowfold, Shermanbury and West Grinstead), cabinet member for arts, heritage and leisure, was asked two questions by members of the new BBHLC Joint User Group about the ongoing consultation to determine the future of the centre.

Peter Everett raised the point that the group has a wealth of knowledge which could help HDC.

He said: “This group welcomes the council’s change of approach to the evaluation of alternatives and to the declared intention to consult with ‘current leaseholders, core users and other stakeholders’.”

He said that the meeting between Horsham District Council and the user group on March 1 was ‘a good indicator that this is being taken seriously’.

He added: “The group is not fixated on the retention of the existing building indefinitely.

“However, members of this group have a wide range of knowledge and expertise which could provide the council with a real opportunity to work more closely with the community in seeking possible solutions.

“Will the council seize this opportunity to recover some of its lost credibility and demonstrate that it is willing and able to work in partnership with the community by engaging in meaningful talks with Joint User Group representatives on how to work together to achieve an acceptable outcome?”

Mr Chowen said: “I hope that it will be an open process. We are starting from scratch again and we are looking at mending those bridges that have been broken.

“It’s a joint decision.”

Fellow BBHLC joint user group member Paul Kornycky raised a question about why the roof had not been repaired after a condition survey in June 2011 and if it would be repaired in the near future.

Mr Chowen said the council was ‘trying desperately not to make any prior decisions’ before the consultation is completed.

He added that any essential work would be undertaken before December 2012.