by Gareth Wilson on 20 April, 2011
Tories on East Cambridgeshire District Council have ploughed more than £500,000 of taxpayers’ money on a new leisure centre for Ely which is in the wrong place.
The money has paid for consultants and architect’s fees but not one brick has been laid and the Tories have no idea how they will raise up to £20 million to build it.
Cllr Ian Allen stated that Moving the leisure centre will mean that existing users, many of whom do not have cars, will find it difficult to reach the centre. Parents may feel less secure leaving their children at a more remote centre, and will definitely be less likely to combine trips and spend money in city centre shops and cafes. National planning policies are against out of centre facilities for exactly these reasons, yet the Tory Council has pressed ahead spending over £600 thousand on the plans alone in the face of these policies. Moving the centre out will however reinforce the business of the Atrium Club, this was commented on in the planning application, who controls this private club seems a reasonable question?
Buses at half hourly intervals were requested by the Highways Authority but were only to be provided when practicable in the final plans, this centre if ever built will reinforce the disadvantage of the transport poor and increase road traffic if residents from further afield are drawn to it.
Cllr Hazel Williams stated that her constituents living in Burwell would be very unlikely to use the centre in Ely if it were ever built, so why was this enormous sum of money not being shared more fairly by improving facilities across the whole district?