Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Ashington Leisure Centre - an update

Ashngton deserves better and we will deliver

Yesterday, I went to Ashington in my role as portfolio holder for culture and customer services. I took a team of senior officers to have a good look round the leisure centre and Library, both of which need major investment.

I just want to say that the council is 100% committed to funding a massively improved leisure facility. Senior officers have now set up a working party and we are getting a dedicated officer to push this forward. We are going to get a full options appraisal to look at all the options including refurbishment on site and then we are going to press ahead.

I love the Waterworld facility in Prudhoe. It's a great facility and the people of Ashington deserve as good a facility. The current centre is not good enough and is not getting enough users. It has suffered from decades of no investment under Labour run Wansbeck Council while places such as Prudhoe (where I'm the councillor for) and Hexham were investing in new faciltiies.

So just to reiterate. We will not close Ashington Leisure Centre. We are going to build a better centre. There is money allocated for this. It will probably take a few years but we will deliver it as quickly as possible. This is just to counter some of what has been said to date by people looking to create arguments as opposed to people who haven't been kept informed.

Personally, I think there is the scope for the new facility to drive the regeneration in Ashington. If we are going to spend millions of pounds of taxpayers cash, we need to ensure it makes the town more attractive. We also need to make sure that we use this opportunity to integrate leisure services with other services for the public so that they can feed into each other. Examples would include the Library and the Customer service centres in Ashington, which badly need better facilities.

In addition, I want to make sure we learn from mistakes made in the past. I want to make sure people in Ashington are kept "in the loop" and that we never again fail to keep people informed. ALso I want to hear your views. Comment below or send me an email at my county council address. I would put it here but I will then get lot's of spam!

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