CONSULTATION over the future of Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre has opened TODAY (Saturday May 5) giving users their chance to make their voice heard.
Horsham District Council’s cabinet approved a report on the centre’s future for consultation on Thursday night, even as users vented their fury at the perceived lack of choice in the presented options.
However Jonathan Chowen (Con, Cowfold, Shermanbury and West Grinstead), cabinet member for arts, heritage and leisure, said: “Start writing your letters to me and give your opinions in this consultation process.”
The four options are:
Option 4: Re-provision of a new smaller leisure centre providing essential facilities and retaining the Indoor Bowls Club in its current location. Estimated cost £1.81m.
Option 5: Same as Option 4, but also includes provision for a new desirable athletics track albeit in an alternative location. Estimated cost £2.96m.
Option 6: Re-provision of a new leisure centre providing essential facilities and which incorporates a new six rink indoor bowls facility and cafe. Estimated cost £4.85m .
Option 7: Same as Option 6, but also includes provision for a desirable athletics track albeit in an alternative location. Estimated cost £6m.
Most options either re-provide or relocate to alternative sites those activities currently taking place at Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre.
At the cabinet meeting Joint User Group (JUG) representative Paul Kornycky said: “They are manipulating the consultation. That is why we are here objecting tonight.”
He added: “This is a wasted opportunity as we pleaded to be involved.”
Sue Kornycky, also of the JUG, said that they would be presenting ‘The People’s Option’ positioned between options seven and nine.
She said: “The Options 4-7 proposed for consultation, provide no choice of centre set up, just the same minimal facilities.
“These are a single small sports hall, a 33 per cent reduction in mulit-use games area space and a gym reduced by 40 per cent. So, for this aspect, the consultation offers no choice and is flawed.”
“Also the Joint User Group believes that these minimal facilities are inadequate and will not meet the essential leisure and community needs of the Horsham public.”
Frances Haigh (LDem, Horsham Park), said that the great leisure provision enabled Horsham district to present itself as a vibrant, healthy and active community with a strong cultural uptake.
“Instead of getting a vision we have been provided with a glorified village hall,” she added.
“I am concerned this shows that we are out of touch with the community and that the drive to generate financially is not seen as corporate greed.”
On the vexed issue of the running track, Andrew Baldwin (Con, Holbrook East), said: “I don’t think its too much hardship to drive to Crawley. Six miles is nothing.”
While Mrs Haigh’s statements were greeted with rapturous applause, these comments prompted angry murmurs from the public gallery and some gasps of incredulity.
The consultation will run from May 5 until June 5 on HDC’s website.