"Farnborough Leisure Centre should reopen and stay open" says Alan Hilliar, local community campaigner and Parliamentary Spokesman for Rushmoor Liberal Democrats.
At last week's Cabinet meeting, Rushmoor Conservatives voted not to reopen the Leisure Centre, maintaining that they could not afford the extra money the current operator had demanded.
Incredibly, they have failed to take into account the costs of NOT opening the Centre. The Covid 19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the physical and mental health of people of all ages. The opportunity to meet and participate in swimming, exercise and sports is vital if we are to mitigate these health problems. The costs of closure will ultimately fall on our NHS and Social Care services.
The Conservative run Council has displayed extraordinary arrogance in giving such short notice, failing to consult with local people and ignoring a petition signed by 2,700 residents in a very short time. This is appalling. On average 400,000 visits to the Centre are made in a year and the Centre is regularly used by 29 clubs, schools and other organisations.
This closure is on top of the demolition of the Community Centre when the Council failed to find alternative facilities for many of its users.
Alan Hilliar says 'The Council says that the proposed Farnborough Civic Area development will provide for a new, up to date, Leisure facility by 2025. But we have seen no plans for this yet and they have a very poor record in delivering on other projects such as the Farnborough and Aldershot Town Centres. Can you really trust them to deliver on this?'U
Unbelievably Cllr Keith Dibble, Leader of the Labour group on Rushmoor Council, gave no indication at the Cabinet meeting that Labour councillors would oppose the Conservatives' decision to close the Leisure Centre.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Thomas Mitchell said "Local Liberal Democrats believe that the Council should seek and negotiate for an alternative provider, that the New Centre should be built on an adjacent site and that the present Centre should stay open until the new one is ready as previously promised."
With local elections coming up in May, people will be able to show their disapproval of the actions of the Conservative Council and the inaction of the Labour Councillors by voting in Liberal Democrat Councillors who care about the local community and will serve you better. In the meantime, you can sign our petition to Stop the Closure of Fanrborough Leisure Centre here.