This evening I, along with about 100 others, attended a meeting organised by the Save Camelford Leisure Centre group at the council offices in the town. The meeting was incredibly positive in its outlook with speaker after speaker making offers of support or ideas for the campaign.
Among those present were local councillors Keith Goodenough, Glenton Brown and John Lugg as well as myself and Liskeard councillor Jay Schofield who grew up in Camelford. Every single one of us pledged to vote in favour of saving Camelford Leisure Centre from the chop. A message of support was also sent by local MP Dan Rogerson who was working in Westminster.
The key person who was not present was Cabinet Member for Leisure Joan Symons. I thought this was a tactical mistake by Joan. Apparently she has said that she will meet the campaign group, but only after the decision to close the centre has passed through Cabinet and the scrutiny committee. As one speaker pointed out, it appears that Cornwall Council is determined to take a decision when they have as little information as possible.
Many speakers noted the fact that the children from many primary schools will lose their ability to learn to swim if the pool closes. The swimming club, which has 50 young members swimming twice a week, will also have to end. The governing body of Sir James Smith's school sent a message asking why Cllr Symons is refusing to meet them to discuss the proposal. We even had one of the local GPs talking about the potential loss of exercise prescriptions that will come from losing the pool and a local Police Officer saying that the pool helped give young people something positive to do.
The fight now moves to County Hall and the first discussion of the proposal at the Budget Cabinet meeting tomorrow. Although they have been refused the right to speak of ask questions, the Camelford campaign group will be there to lobby councillors. One of those making the trip will be campaign leader Rev Jim Benson-Evans who spoke to me after the meeting tonight.