Don’t be misled

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ANYONE looking at the headline on last week’s front page could be forgiven for thinking that the problems of the leisure centre at Broadbridge Heath have all been sorted out and that the people of Horsham district can look forward to a wonderful, state-of-the-art, new centre in the future.

Don’t be misled. Nothing could be farther from the truth. People reading the whole of the article and referring to the report on the council’s website will come to realise that what we are being offered is a very pale imitation of the sporting, leisure and community facilities we now enjoy at Broadbridge Heath.

The consultants appointed by Horsham District Council came up with nine different options for the future of the site, ranging from knocking down the current building, flogging off the site and pocketing the proceeds, to building a brand new state-of-the-art centre that would provide everything (or almost everything) we currently enjoy at Broadbridge Heath (you could say their options ranged from the ‘cor blimey to the sublime’).

The only one of the nine options that comes even close to providing the same sporting, leisure and community facilities is Option 9. However, this is apparently to be thrown out.

Early indications are that our councillors will discard five of the nine options (including No 9) even before the public consultation process begins next month. We may be left with only four options to consider.

The consultants pointed to Option 6 as scoring well because it optimised the balance between capital costs and receipts and the financial operating position (note how money always seems to hold sway - ‘ker-ching’!).

However, Option 6 does away with the athletics track, indoor track and field training area (the Tube), the Sensory Room for disabled children, meeting rooms, sprung-floor exercise area, 20 gym stations, the sports therapy centre, beauty salon and two indoor bowls rinks and relocates the badminton hall to another site; along with expressing the hope that a home will be found for HOADS - no promises there (Oh, and by the way, the number of tennis courts/floodlit games areas will be reduced too).

Let’s bear in mind that Horsham District Council hopes to sell the site for something like £20m. Is it too much to ask that they spend less than half that sum making sure the local community is not left worse off for sporting, leisure and community facilities than when this whole sorry saga started?

SHEILA WHITE

Great Daux, Warnham