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Councillor criticises district council over Stourport Sports Centre
6:10am Friday 18th October 2013 in News
A DISTRICT councillor has claimed the local authority has prevented interested parties from taking over a Stourport sports facility threatened with closure.
Independent Community and Health Concern councillor Nigel Thomas said that Wyre Forest District Council had imposed conditions on groups and parties interested in Stourport Sports Centre which caused them to “walk away”.
He claims the council’s new planned district-wide leisure centre would not be “viable” if Stourport remained open.
The council said that if it gave the sports centre to a community group free of charge, it would need to “complement” rather than “compete” with the new centre.
Mr Thomas said the conditions were that a new owner would not be able to hold swimming classes or five-a-side football.
He said: “I was astonished to find out that the district council had indicated conditions at the last minute which were the reasons the parties walked away.
“Stourport has more water than anywhere else in Wyre Forest and if the facilities to learn to swim for our children are demolished we shall return to the bad old days when fatalities were common.”
Councillor Ian Hardiman, cabinet member with responsibility for community-wellbeing, said the council had been pursuing a Community Asset Transfer to interested parties for the last two years.
He said: “A significant amount of capital investment is required to bring the facility up to standard, including investment in plant equipment for the pool.
“Many meetings have taken place with interested parties but unfortunately no group has been in a position to take on the asset.
“If the council were to give this asset to a community group free of charge it would clearly be important that it complements rather than competes with the new centre.
“The new centre will include better quality swimming provision than the current centre at Stourport and will include a separate teaching pool which will cater for all children and adults who wish to learn to swim, this centre will be accessible to the residents of Stourport and the whole district.”
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