21 July 2010 - Views on the Report

From Brian Mantel

The first point about Wiltshire Council’s vision for leisure is that they are clearly planning to ignore completely the views of the public who elect them. The plans are being presented as a fait accompli, with Council Leader Jane Scott saying. “We are not going to be able to deliver these services,” and “We will put them into a state of good repair before they go,” strongly implying that the decision has already been made.

In a council made up of a number of former local authorities, a review of provision makes sense, since centres near the borders of the old authorities could be too close together. It is also sensible to consider closures where a town has more than one centre. However, access to leisure facilities should not depend on car ownership, so the common sense approach in a large area like Wiltshire would be to provide a number of smaller centres within easy reach of local communities. Centres exactly like the Lime Kiln and the Springfield Centre, which I understand was North Wilts. only profitable facility.

What does not make sense is to build a series of super centres which appear to roughly follow the line of the A338, and, together with the existing facilities at Chippenham, would appear to leave West Wiltshire exceptionally well provided for, at the expense of the rest of the county, and, in particular, North Wilts. Trowbridge and Melksahm are only seven miles apart, so why do both require expensive new ‘community hubs’? This clear bias towards the west of the county warrants some serious investigation.

Whilst I have serious reservations about the whole plan, my immediate concern is the closure of the Lime Kiln Centre, a hugely important centre for swimming and martial arts, and home to Wiltshire’s fastest growing badminton club, as well as being the local secondary school’s sports facility and a vital resource for the health and well being of the community. If Wiltshire Council cannot afford to run these facilities, how does it expect to solve the problem by handing them over to unfunded community groups?

If the Council is really going to spend the money to put these centres into a good state of repair before handing them over, how are they saving money? Granted, they will not have the expense of running them, but the real issue is the avoidance of any major capital expenditure in the future. Wiltshire Council will, no doubt, paper over the cracks, but when one of the centres later requires major capital investment, like a new roof or pool plant, the Council will have washed its hands of any involvement.

No doubt Wiltshire will tell us that they have no statutory responsibility to provide leisure facilities; but in these days of increasing awareness of health and fitness issues, that really will not do. I am prepared to believe Councillor Scott when she says of the abandoned leisure facilities “We won’t just be walking away from them.” No indeed; it is readily apparent that Councillor Scott and her colleagues are running away from their moral, if not legal, responsibilities with considerable and unseemly haste.
 

21 July 2010 - Views on the Report

From Janice Bardwell

Thanks, having read the report I believe that there are a number of areas not adequately addressed and which should be robustly challenged.

1. There is talk of improved carbon foot print but the report takes no “green” account of sustainability and car usage.
2. How does Wootton Bassett and surrounds meet the standard of being 20 min drive from a major sports hub?
3. No report should have as it’s foundation the requirement to use a car.
4. The area on participation is very wishy washy with no actual figures with regard to by how much participation will increase under the new proposals.
5. The Equalities section is very poor indeed in that it only addresses accessibility in terms of mobility. The equalities section of the report should reflect on impact in all areas of equality of opportunity and that it cannot be a considered a robust report without those reflections.

6. There is no reference to the councils strategic plan for Bassett and other towns which aims to reduce car usage and promote increased facilities in Bassett.
7. The report does not refer to the PCT and what their view is of reduced sports and exercise facilities.
8. The director of Public Health (Maggie Rae)is a joint appointment between the PCT and Wiltshire Council and so should have been consulted and allowed to comment to members making decisions.
9. There is no reference to any major stakeholders being consulted i.e. DC leisure. They may have been able to produce a different business option.
10. This plan may fit the “big society mode” but will also take jobs away from DC leisure and other providers contractors.

This morning at 7.30 in the pool were
• Two disabled persons, one of whom was also elderly
• At least three older persons.
• Four people of mid age
• Four younger people.
In all between 7.00 and 7.40 19 people had elected to swim. A quick straw poll revealed that 80% would not have been able to swim if the pool in Bassett were not available and that they could not travel to reach other pools.

Two of the younger people were from Chippenham and swimming on their way to work.

Regards

Janice Bardwell
 

21 July 2010 - The Council's Full Report On The Leisure Centre Plans

 We had difficulty finding this so just in case you have not seen it!

https://cms.wiltshire.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=415&T=10

You can hear today's radio interview with Stuart Wheeler and Andrew Kerr on BBC Wiltshire iplayer.  It was on at 10am.

20 July 2010 - New Threat to the LKC

It seems there is a new threat to the Lime Kiln Centre.  The Council plans to save money by passing them to 'Community Control'.  If the Council cannot afford the facilities then what chance does an unfunded Community have?

 

Focus Groups

The new management at the Lime Kiln Centre wants to start a focus group to get closer the the real users. 

The first meeting is this Thursday (28 June) - more info in this forum post (click here).

Rollercoaster Week

Update 15 Feb. Gazette & Herald : NWLL put into administration (click here) See also the NWDC site (Click here.)

Update 17 Feb - Progress reports from Brian Mantel. Click Here to read more. 

Update 19 Feb – Gazette & Herald : All six centres will remain open until March 31st. (Click here)

Update 22 Feb - Brian Mantel meets a DC Leisure man. (Click here for a direct link.)

Cricklade & Calne are still fighting to save their centres. PLEASE SUPPORT THEM!

Cricklade has a website: http://www.savecrickladeleisurecentre.com/ and has launched an e-petition to the Prime Minister http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Keepleisurelocal/ (Deadline 14th March 2007)

Has anyone got a link to a website for Calne?

Do post your views in the Forum.

Support Our Sport

We’ve got a sports and leisure centre – at least for the next 18 months! LET’S USE IT!

In addition to the classes run by the centre, Lime Kiln is “home” to a whole range of clubs… Club Site Links (see left) is the beginning of a list that will be added to over the next few weeks.  If details of your club are missing, please send them in.  Email to richard@dynamisys.co.uk.

Within the next couple of weeks SOS Lime Kiln intends to hold another User Group meeting.  We want to include representatives from all of the clubs and groups that use the Centre.  We believe this will help us to communicate effectively with DC Leisure and that we can make a useful and positive contribution to the running of the centre.  Direct link to DC Leisure.

Save the Lime Kiln Sports Centre

Welcome to the campaign to save the Lime Kiln sports centre in Wootton Bassett.

We have achieved our original objective.  The Lime Kiln Centre will remain open for at least 12 months.  We are not out of the woods yet.  Do register on the site (Use the link in in the top right hand corner).  It helps us know how many people care.  Do leave messages in the forum.  Please take care not to say anything rude or defamatory.  We reserve the right to remove posts at our discretion.  Be brief, be positive, be polite.

Best wishes,

- The Campaign Team

Using the Centre

Do you want to USE the Centre?  Here's the link to NWL's site page with their leaflets about opening times and charges.  The leaflets are PDF files.  Look near the bottom of the page.  There are some great off peak pricing offers.

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