LETTER: Food for thought

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Your letters

I am certainly not alone in thinking that councillor Dendle’s recent statement in the Gazette – that “the existing leisure centre in Sea Road is at the end of its life and needs replacing with a new efficient centre” – is absolute nonsense.

The fact is that the existing centre is only 30-odd years old with its mainly brick-built structure “as sound as a bell”.

It is also undeniably modern and attractive in appearance, both inside and out – that is apart from the unsightly moss covered asbestos roof.

Furthermore, the gymnasium has fairly recently been upgraded with the latest fitness equipment and the main swimming pool is not only full up to modern design standards from a practical aspect, but is also far more attractive in appearance than many more recent designs.

Indeed I reckon that the great Lady Doreen Benham, who campaigned so tirelessly to persuade the local council to provide the existing leisure centre, would turn in her grave if she knew the bulldozers would soon be arriving to demolish her wonderful achievement.

I also think that the council’s proposal to borrow the enormous sum of £18 million to cover the cost of demolishing the existing leisure centre and building a new one elsewhere in Littlehampton, would be an intolerable and unnecessary burden on the local council taxpayers.

Just imagine the interest payments on that amount alone!

I’m no financial expert but it seems pretty obvious, and entirely logical to me, that it would be far less costly to retain the existing sound structure of the Sea Road leisure centre and replace the existing temporary sub-standard sports dome with a new permanent state-of-the-art sports hall.

This, together with a new solar panelled roof to the main block and some already proposed improvements to the existing changing room and dining facilities, would be all that would be required to bring the existing leisure centre fully up to modern standards of efficiency.

It also seems obvious to me that, by utilising the existing site and building structure, the cost of the above additions and alterations could even be covered by the council reserve fund without the necessity for borrowing £18 million proposed.

Just a final thought regarding the appointment of private consultants by Arun District Council.

I understand that the previous consultants, Colliers International, were also “developers”, and it occurred to the cynic in me that, as such, their advice to the council could therefore be somewhat biased towards recommending the more potentially lucrative proposal of demolishing the existing leisure centre, erecting a new block of flats on the site and a new leisure centre elsewhere in Littlehampton.

Food for thought no doubt!

John Kerry

Sea Road


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