‘People power’ won the day

Thanks to the tremendous support of the public of Horsham district, the Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre remains open and ‘booming’ (if ‘50-plus’ day attendances are anything to go by).

It is amazing to think that the Horsham District Council cabinet originally voted in November 2011 to close it on December 1, 2012, with no replacement whatsoever.

Then, after the massive petition, they offered us the ‘bogus ballot’ choice of four leisure centres (remember the woeful Consultant’s Options 4, 5, 6 and 7?); all the same and all totally inadequate.

Finally, the ballot having been ‘won’ by the People’s Option, despite not officially being on the ballot paper (is this a ‘first’?), the council voted for Option 7A. This was a good step towards the People’s Option but still has some critical deficiencies.

The Advisory Group (involving user representatives) is a very welcome effort towards resolving these issues, as the new replacement leisure centre is planned.

So, people of Horsham district, take a well-deserved ‘pat on the back’. It was your voice that turned this around and not ‘councillors changing spots’ (though one or two actually may have!).

In 2013 and beyond, we will still have to fight hard to ensure that a very reasonable 35 to 40 per cent of the proceeds of the sale of the leisure centre site are spent wisely on a new leisure centre. Then we will have one that not only meets the needs of the district, but also turns in an operating profit each year.

Maybe (if enough people ask) HDC will tell us on just what other capital projects they are planning to better spend the remaining £13m that is expected to be realised from the sale of this site?

Finally, the saga of the leaking roof at BBHLC is now getting ‘beyond the pale’; actually there are lots of strategically placed pails catching the many drips! So, as the new leisure centre is still some years away, can we please finally have the existing roof properly fixed?

This really is necessary now to ensure the continuity of service that has been promised, ie old leisure centre remains in use until locally and satisfactorily replaced.

PAUL KORNYCKY

Cox Green, Rudgwick