WESTBURY Leisure Alliance has declared that it will continue to oppose Wiltshire Council’s proposals to transfer Westbury’s leisure facilities to a local community trust.
The group plan to send a letter to cabinet members prior to their meeting on 14th December. Mike Parker, a member of Westbury Leisure Alliance said, “The letter to cabinet members that we’re proposing to send prior to their meeting is a letter saying to Wiltshire Council members, we don’t want you to pass the facilities in Westbury over to a local trust. The people of Westbury want you to continue to run our leisure facilities.”
The letter will also highlight the importance and national significance of Westbury Swimming Pool, which was recently designated as a Grade II listed building. It will also emphasise the problems of running two facilities on separate sites, and the problems the pool will have in generating revenue.
Mike added, “We’ve also added that we know where public sector spending has been reduced; it’s not the time to be forming charitable trusts which will inevitably rely heavily on public funding to survive.”
The campaign has been in correspondence with Wiltshire Council to try and obtain information on aspects such as user statistics and running costs.
What next for
The campaign is waiting to hear what effect the latest timetable of cuts will have on the town’s leisure facilities.
Wiltshire Council has been told that the government may front load some of the savings they must make over the next four years, and so cuts may have to be made quicker than originally planned. Instead of making £40million of savings next year, that figure could rise to £70million.
Under their proposals, Wiltshire Council has previously stated that they would ensure that both Leighton Recreation Centre and Westbury Pool are in good condition and fit for purpose before handing the facilities over to community ownership, most notably with a £3million indoor bowls facility at Leighton.
However, the proposals for investment in the county’s leisure services could now be put back. A spokesperson for Wiltshire Council said, “Wiltshire Council remains committed to investing in the county’s leisure services. The timescale of the programme will be subject to details of our grant allocation from central government, which will be announced in December.”