North Warwickshire Labour Group have today released the following statement:
“The Labour Group in North Warwickshire strongly supports the campaign to ‘Keep Arley Sports Centre Open’, which has been set up by residents of Arley and the surrounding villages.
The Arley Sports Centre is one of four leisure centers owned and operated by the Borough Council with the other three being sited in Atherstone, Polesworth and Coleshill respectively.
During the previous Labour administration (2011-2015) Arley Sports Centre remained open and the Council heavily invested in leisure facilities, including building the new Leisure Centre in Coleshill. We believe this was the right action to take and contrary to recent reports, Coleshill Leisure Centre is open to the public during the day and cost £4 million, not £7 million.
All four Borough Council sports facilities are vital if the Council is to achieve its aim of reducing health inequalities and expanding leisure provision across our Borough.
We recognise that there is a need to make savings in the cost of running the Council but we cannot support any decision to close Arley Sports Centre. We would be looking at ways to reduce the cost of the facility or to increase its income by improving the facilities and marketing.
The 2016/2017 budget does not include savings that might be realised from changing the operations at Arley and therefore there is no need for the Council to be rushing this process but we want to make clear to the public that the administration has made this item a resolved decision and in terms of the Council’s constitution, that means a decision has been made.
We find it extremely patronising to the residents of Arley for the Leader of the Council to state that he will be seeking permission of Councillors to start the ‘always intended’ public consultation on the future of Arley Lesuire Centre. It smacks in the face of democracy for the Council to make a decision and to then say they will consult. This is a political tactic to try and stave off the pressure from local residents. The Community & Environment Board has already resolved to consult so there is no need to seek permission from Councillors. Permission has already been given.
Labour Councillors voted against the preferred option that has been resolved by the Council. We support Arley Sports Centre, we want it to remain open.
If the Council is serious about consulting with local residents it would make the paperwork and discussion on Arley Sports Centre public, publically revoke the decision that has previously been supported and then seek to hold a full consultation on the future delivery of the Centre.”