Users of Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre have welcomed proposals for future provision of leisure services.
While the leisure centre’s Joint User Group (JUG) welcomed the ‘initial’ proposals for the Broadbridge Heath Quadrant announced last week by Horsham District Council, they said they were not relaxing yet.
Plans unveiled last month include a new replacement leisure centre, possible medical centre, up to 200 apartments, retail and restaurant units, and a hotel.
The group led the fight to secure a replacement facility once HDC decided to decommission the existing centre in 2011.
A statement from the JUG said: “We have come a long way since the council’s original ‘plan’ to demolish and not replace the track, the leisure centre, the indoor bowling centre and the outdoor multi-use games area.
“We have moved on from the council’s limited options put forward in a so-called ‘consultation’ and in response to which the BJUG put forward the hugely popular ‘people’s option’.
“We have lurched forward to the council’s inadequate “option 7A”. We responded to the council’s request for requirements by submitting a BJUG outline for a new leisure centre with facilities to meet the needs of all users (including the extra demand which will come from the 2,000 houses being built nearby) and we provided a building layout concept on two storeys to fit into the limited space of the proposed site.
“And now we see proposals which at last are showing some evidence of visionary thinking and a letting go of the old preconceived and misguided notions of what should be provided.
“We wholeheartedly welcome this new style of thinking to a ‘what can be provided’ approach rather than ‘what’s the least we can get away with’.”
District councillor Malcolm Curnock (LDem, Broadbridge Heath) welcomed the modern and enhanced leisure facility.
He added: “The wider redevelopment of the site will provide a welcome boost to the local economy, whilst providing additional local employment opportunities for the residents of BBH
“Yet again BBH is being asked to provide more housing for the district with a further 200 housing units to be added to the 1,000 it is already providing on a green field site.
“With the land under HDC control there should be no excuses why 40 per cent affordable housing cannot be provided.
“At least this housing will be provided on a brown field site unlike the current green field application submitted by Gleeson, on land north of the Old Guildford Road, for 164 houses and a care home.
“Now that there is this proposal for 200 housing units in the Broadbridge Heath Quadrant this green field site is even less appropriate for development than before and should be refused permission in favour of the brown field development.
“Development on brown field sites is always preferable and BBH has already sacrificed enough of its green fields to provide for the district’s wider housing needs.”
David Moore, chairman of the Horsham Society, said that while the group awaited an in-depth business case, he welcomed plans for a new leisure facility and hotel.
But he added: “With the new retail and restaurant elements I think the big risk is you pull in traders that might have an effect on the town centre.”
But last week John Coghlan, chairman of the Horsham Indoor Bowls Club, said that proposals could result in the ‘death’ of the group if the council does not provide suitable replacement facilities.
And readers have bombared the County Times with letters expressing their anger at the treatment of their club.
What do you think of proposals? Comment below or join the debate on Twitter using the hashtag #BBHquadrant