Revised proposals for leisure centre approved

HORSHAM District Council approved revised recommendations regarding Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre on Wednesday night.

The previous motion which councillors had been expected to vote on would have seen a clear decision to close the centre.

But after a back bench rebellion, the word closure was removed and in its place councillors demanded a full business case and consultation to be prepared.

At the meeting, the expected show of unity on the floor disguised the enormous behind-the-scenes drama that had been running all week.

Although campaigners for the centre are correct that it may still close - there remains a strong determination among many back bench Conservatives to use the business case to explore all options, most notably to see if it can be repaired and retained.

Much will hinge on who the party appoints as leader following the shock resignation and departure of Robert Nye last week from the role.

The current cabinet has pressed hard for closure claiming it is the only financial option open to them.

But campaigners remain determined to keep pressing home the message that they want the centre saved.

The recommendations that were approved were:

(i) The Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre is excluded from the new Leisure Management contract.

(ii) A detailed business case relating to the future of the Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre is prepared, for consultation with current leaseholders, core users and other stakeholders.

(iii) A Planning Brief for the Broadbridge Heath Quadrant, together with an appraisal of options for the future of the Leisure Centre site and adjacent Council owned land, are prepared and are reported to Council for approval.

(iv) The Business Case and the results of consultations shall be submitted to the Council for decision by May 2012. No final decision about the future of the centre will be made until the reports referred to in recommendations (ii) and (iii) have been approved by Council.

Don’t miss this week’s County Times for more news and analysis and check out this website’s News Focus section with all the background reports on the closure debate.

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