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Posted: Feb 25 2008, 05:22 PM
Member No.: 2
Joined: 5-October 07
Referendum call over Albion leisure centre closure
An Ilkeston man is calling for a referendum on the future of the Albion Leisure Centre which the council controversially decided to close two weeks ago.
Richard Hallsworth, a regular user of the centre, says the closure will devastate the sports and social amenities of Ilkeston.
He wants the council let the people of Ilkeston decide what should happen to the centre. He said: "I am not guessing - I know - that the vote would show that closing the Albion Leisure Centre would be a tragedy - not only for the kids of Ilkeston but for the entire population.
"During the last 20-odd years, thousands of children have passed various exams and gained diplomas in martial arts, gymnastics, trampolining and other events.
"I have watched children come and go and I've seen their joys and disappointments.
"Over the past few weeks I have spoken to pupils and instructors alike and I have yet to speak to one that wants to move from the Albion Centre and move to the Rutland Sports Park."
Now Mr Hallsworth wants Erewash Borough Council to reveal how much it would cost to revamp the centre and keep it open.
"If the Albion is closed - will the council explain what is planned for the site and how will they prevent it from being vandalised?"
He also fears that moving to the Rutland Sports Park will expose young children to danger when they walk between the tennis halls and the changing rooms.
Erewash Borough Council say the closure will save an estimated £269,000 for the 2009/10 financial year and it will cost approximately £600,000 to maintain the facility to its current standards and for disabled access improvements.
Paul Hogan, director of culture and leisure services at Erewash Borough Council, said the decision to close was falling user numbers since the arrival of the Rutland Sports Park; anindependent report also concluded that there are too many indoor sports facilities in Erewash.
He said: "There is no question that the centre is well managed and it is being used by a wide range of groups and some excellent sports clubs.
"However, this strong access and satisfaction performance does not compensate for year-on-year rises in costs, relatively low overall usage and significant capital investment requirements in the short term.
"Ultiately the council cannot afford to carry on paying out the large sums of money required year-on-year to keep the centre running."
A spokesperson for the council said: "Rutland Sports Park already has a number of younger people taking part in activities at the centre.
"We have not experienced any concerns about safety when younger people travel between the two buildings on the site, as the route between the two areas is well lit."
The full article contains 467 words and appears in Ilkeston Advertiser newspaper.Last Updated: 22 February 2008 1:23 PM