THE CAMPAIGN group set up to save the sports hall at the Dolphin Centre will be taking its fight to the district council at the meeting next Wednesday (November 18).
The group will be putting Bromsgrove District Council’s demo- cratic process to the test when it hands in its petition. Members will also participate in the new 15-minute ‘ask a question’ slot to query why the new leisure centre has been designed without a sports hall.
They have prepared four specific questions for the chairman of Bromsgrove District Council, which they are hoping will be passed to the portfolio holder or council officers to answer. Campaigners claim, following the public consultation in 2010, residents felt a sports hall was an important feature of the new leisure centre.
And they questioned some of the other facilities which, they say, were not asked for, such as spa treatment rooms, a climbing wall and moveable pool floor.
A Bromsgrove District Council spokesperson has said that, during the authority’s consultation, people valued having a leisure centre, so it was a case of providing a new one with the best facilities, using the resources available, and building a new sports hall made the whole centre unaffordable. Instead, it said, it planned to increase and improve the way other local sports halls were used, in shared-use partnerships across the community.
But campaigners claim both facilities have reported a maximum capacity of 80 per cent and they said they questioned how the council planned to squeeze all current activities from both halls into just one space. The group will also ask the council to consider future generations by rethinking demolition of the sports hall in light of resident opinions, which reveal most were either unaware of plans or strongly disagree with them.
The council’s decision to not have a sports hall in the Dolphin Leisure Centre was based on data retrieved from Sports England – formerly known as the English Sports Council. However, campaigner Chris Barnett said consolidating the sports hall with North Bromsgrove School would make it impossible for individuals to book certain activities – contravening, in particular, the sports council’s recommendations for pay-and-play badminton courts.
He said the sports hall at the Dolphin Centre had served three generations of people over the last 25 years so members would be asking the council to guarantee a fresh review of the scheme for the benefit of the residents of Bromsgrove.
Coun Chris Bloore will also be putting forward a motion about the sports hall at Wednesday’s meeting, which calls on the council to suspend the planned building of the centre until the finances surrounding it have been fully reviewed, with a view to it including a sports hall.
Here is Coun Chris Bloore’s full motion: