CHESTERFIELD: Controversial centre plans go on show

How Queens Park Sports Centre could look
How Queens Park Sports Centre could look

Campaigners fighting to save Queen’s Park Sports Centre claim the new venue will be “meagre and inadequate” as the second phase of consultation launches.

But Chesterfield Borough Council, which is leading the project to replace the venue, say most residents support their plans.

How Queens Park Sports Centre could look

How Queens Park Sports Centre could look

Councillors debated the proposals at a meeting last Wednesday as campaigner Alan Maris handed over a petition against the council’s scheme signed by almost 4,500 people.

Mr Maris slammed the plans as a “back-handed cut to services” and questioned the lack of diving facilities and athletics track and whether the project was an appropriate Olympic legacy.

He told the council, “The only winner from all of this is Chesterfield college - not the people you serve.”

He added the authority should spend £3m renovating the existing centre instead of £8.5m on a new facility.

Julia Cambridge, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary spokesperson for Chesterfield, who is supporting the campaigners said: “I am shocked, but not surprised, at the meagre and inadequate facilities on offer within the new sports centre.

“No amount of shiny glass and patterned tiles are going to make up for the fact that residents will be left without diving boards and an annexe while fighting for space for Chesterfield College students.”

But councillor Amanda Serjeant said subsidising the current centre cost £1.2m a year was is not sustainable.

She added the Olympic legacy was not about funding “elite athletes” but inspiring everyone to get involved with sport.

During the first phase of consultation 800 people responded - with most saying they were in favour of the scheme.

Cllr Serjeant said the council has the opportunity to shape the future of leisure and the new centre will be cheaper to run.

She added the council is “going to listen to the community” and urged everyone to get involved in the second phase of consultation which started on Friday and runs until Friday, August 16.

For more see Readers View on page seven.

What do DT readers think:

On Twitter:

David Ford ‏”@D_Times who is going to be accountable for the inevitable overspend on a replacement for #QPLC. Should be the councillors themselves.”

Peter wilson “@D_Times not on about elite athletes but school and club athletes feeling the benefit of outdoor exercise.”

Tim Holloway ‏”No one elected Mr Maris to speak for them. He speaks for himself and only that.”

Simon Grass-Smith ‏”I say build a new one, my children deserve better facilities than I had growing up.”

On Facebook:

Dee Mutti Scattergood “We need an up to date leisure centre the old one is tired and past its best.”

Mel Bunting “Of course the Leisure Centre should be saved, the people of Chesterfield need it, end of!”

Elaine Moules “To be honest we have stopped going as find it very grubby and in need of repairs.”

Chris Ball “The budget simply does not allow for a centre that everyone is envisioning. The budget for the entire new leisure centre is barely twice that of refurbishing a market hall. Do people think they are going to get a state of the art facility for that?”