Thursday, 4 November 2010

Camelford Leisure Centre Saved (for now)

Camelford Leisure Centre has been saved from the chop - at least for the short term. This stay of execution was announced at today's scrutiny meeting at County Hall attended by a delegation of Camelford LC residents and staff.

As virtually every resident in Cornwall cannot have helped but notice, the Conservatives at County Hall had proposed to withdraw the subsidy to Camelford Leisure Centre and, with nobody willing to step forward, the centre would close.

The details of this deal are still sketchy. Cabinet Member Joan Symons told the committee that she had only been given notice of the deal two minutes before the start of the meeting and so the details have not been worked out.

As far as we can work out at the moment, the deal revolves around the establishment of a local working group to find a new way of delivering the current services at the leisure centre. There will be funding from the Council Leader's contingency fund to tide the centre over (but it wasn't clear that this would be the full amount currently being given to run the centre).

Since the proposal to close the centre was first raised a couple of weeks ago, the centre management has made great strides in identifying how costs can be cut and they have been working on an alternative management model. This deal now gives them the space to work their plans out fully.

The local community has got to take the credit for achieving this u-turn. Their campaign has been superb. Councillors have been bombarded with personal stories of the value of Camelford Leisure Centre as well as information from local GPs and analysis of the impact on local school pupils and other users.

There are a lot of questions that still need to be answered on this but, with the ink on the deal still wet as the meeting started, these cannot be given just yet. So the Communities Scrutiny Committee will have to meet again to look at these. But it's great news for now.

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