THE BROADBRIDGE Heath Leisure Centre, incorporating athletics facilities for training up to Olympic standards, is arguably the jewel in the crown of the Horsham district.
We are told that this jewel is to be ripped out by demolition. The reason given is the cost of repairs. I wonder how much of the vague figure put forward is essential, and how much is just ‘nice to have’?
The structural quality of the centre must be good, as it is only 25 years young. The previous sports centre, just off Albion Way, is still going strong as a bowling alley.
Is this really just an excuse to help facilitate a bigger planning scheme?
The UK is the host country for the Olympics in 2012 and these exciting events undoubtedly will stimulate enthusiasm for athletics, other sports and keep fit in general.
Accordingly, this will translate into much increased use of sports/leisure centres; an increased income for Broadbridge Heath must then alleviate the cost of repairs, particularly if the work is confined to essential projects only.
As an alternative venue, the Demolitionists may point to the Pavilions in the Park, the other centre which was also financed by generous external grants. It has no athletics facilities, and future erosion of Horsham Park is extremely unlikely.
Everybody knows that car parking in the Pavilions is difficult at the best of times. I gather our nice council is addressing the issue by planning to increase the parking charges which should discourage use. I am sure that Pavilions users will welcome this innovative strategy!
From personal experience, the Pavilions seem to be running at maximum capacity already, and so could not cope with a new influx of customers. I have found that the gym can be overcrowded, bordering on dangerous (eg people accidentally nudging you with their weights).
In frustration, I have given up their evening studio cycling classes. Despite phoning seven days in advance to book, I could not attend because in a majority of occasions there were no places left.
It is obvious from the County Times that many people feel strongly about the stupidity of demolition as I do; I just hope we all can provide enough pressure to get the council to ‘kick it into touch’.
Dickins Way, Horsham