Congleton Town Council is appealing to local people to write to Cheshire East and confirm that they want Cheshire East Council to deliver the promised work on Congleton Leisure Centre.
A cross-party group of Congleton Town Councillors and the Chief Officer have arranged a meeting with Senior Officers and Councillors at Cheshire East Council to discuss the issues over the Congleton Leisure Centre refurbishment, but warned that people not just councillor power is needed to make the difference.
Town Councillors were dismayed to see in the press that the approved plans for refurbishing Congleton’s Leisure Centre had been ‘paused’ by Cheshire East Council with plans to ‘review’ the scheme in the Autumn.
Now there are real fears that the approved and budgeted multi-million pound scheme will be lost in local government finance pressures and local people will be sold a dream of a bigger and better leisure centre that could be years in the making, if at all.
Councillor Sally Ann Holland, Town Mayor said: “Congleton people have been waiting for many years for a replacement leisure centre. Our current centre was built in 1976 and according to the Cheshire East website is ‘an aging asset which costs the Council to maintain’. We think that the redevelopment plans which were approved in 2019 should be proceeded with as quickly as possible and urge local people to write or email Cheshire East Council urging the Council to stop delaying and to get on with providing Congleton with a suitable leisure centre as approved with conditions on the 5th August 2019.”
In an open letter to Councillor Mick Warren, Cheshire East Council Portfolio holder for Communities, Congleton Town Council said:
“As you will be aware from the extensive work and expense needed to develop the approved plans for the refurbished Congleton Leisure Centre, the current centre is no longer fit for purpose. It is almost certainly true to say that the Congleton Leisure Centre is now the oldest and least efficient in Cheshire East and on your own website is called an ‘aging asset which costs the Council to maintain’. The approved plans were subject to a public consultation in January 2019. Congleton Town Council debated and voted to support Planning Application 18/6319C and welcomed Cheshire East Council’s approval with conditions on the 5th August 2019.
The Town Council was fully expecting work to start in January 2020 and agreed in November 2019 to cancel the annual Triathlon planned for April 2020 on the understanding that the building works would be underway. As a Town Council we would very much like to see the plans that were developed and approved delivered as the people of Congleton are in need of better facilities now.
In our meeting on the 16th September we hope that you will be able to explain the current thinking, timescales and proposals for Congleton’s Leisure Centre and how the autumn review will be carried out.
With public finances becoming even tighter we are very concerned that there is a real danger of chasing a dream of something bigger and better and losing the opportunity for an approved refurbishment. The people of Congleton need a decent usable Leisure Centre now, not another promise of a future development that may or may not materialise.”
If you support the Town Council’s view that Cheshire East Council should commence work on the Congleton Leisure Centre as approved in 2019 please email the portfolio holder, Cllr Mick Warren for support on firstname.lastname@example.org – please feel free to add you own text but Town Council is suggesting along the lines of:
Dear Councillor Warren
SUPPORT FOR CONGLETON LEISURE CENTRE REDEVELOPMENT
I would like to urge Cheshire East Council to progress with the approved plans to improve Congleton Leisure Centre as a matter of urgency. There has been talk about improvements for Congleton Leisure Centre for many years. Our current Leisure Centre is in desperate need of refurbishment and we would like Cheshire East to deliver the plans that were approved in 2019.
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