Sunday, 11 January 2009

Victoria Leisure Centre rumpus goes on

Is it 2009? *yawns* Ooh eck, I'm feeling old.

Sorry its been quiet on here, it was Christmas, then it was New Year, been away, brain doesn't work yada yada but WE'RE BACK!!!

As many will know the 3 prospective new designs for Viccy Leisure Centre have been released and have been on display. You can see them for comments via the Save Victoria Baths website here.

Councillor Jon 'call me Jonny-Boy' Collins was quoted last year as saying

"But I can tell you the majority of residents want a new swimming pool. When I talk to them they don't want a second rate, second class [facility] built in a leaky, inefficient building.

It might be a small number of heritage folk want that but it is by no means a majority view. We are going to have a new swimming pool and I think people understand that."

And this emphasis on the swimming pool appears to have led the Council to leave out any plans for a sports hall in any of the proposals.

Quoted in an Evening Post report a spokesperson for the architects said

"There is no sports hall because the council didn't ask for one. This means the centre is going to be smaller."

Right Jonny Boy, so its just a few 'heritage folk' who are unhappy is it? Not people who are concerned about losing sporting and leisure facilities in their local area then? Strange as 2 key points from the consultation exercise (carried out by Nottm City Council and available via the ampaigners' website) were

"95% of responders did not wish to see the closure of the facility and had varying concerns about the closure e.g. loss of facilities, access to alternative provision, impact on health, crime and anti-social behaviour, historical loss of the building with the biggest single concern being the need to improve or replace the facility with something else.

80% of respondents wished to keep the existing facilities or invest in new modern facilities centred on the existing theme of swimming and dry related activities."

Rumours that the extra space freed up has been set aside for a 100ft golden statue of Councillor Collins, with one foot stepping on a cowering Michael Frater's face, have been emphatically denied. Its being handed over to developers.

Meanwhile, the Council and Health Authority have announced a £500k scheme to 'get Nottingham fitter'. Councillor David 'Trembling' Trimble said

"We've already proved that we're travelling in the right direction, so we're hoping that even more people will enjoy keeping fit in Nottingham this year."

Yeah right. By demolishing and not replacing a sports hall. Idiot.

The Council might have been on stronger ground if their proposals involved the renewal of all facilities in the current leisure centre. However, instead they want to spend £8m on a reduced facility when, according to the campaigners, it would cost between £1.5-2m to refurbish the existing centre.

As one of the self confessed 'heritage' types I'm concerned about Nottingham's historical tendency to bulldoze its architectural history at the drop of a hat. As a result, despite Nottingham's history going back to Saxon times and being the most important city in the midlands during the medievel period we have virtually nothing left thats pre Georgian.

A recent crime of this nature was the demolition of the Victoria Station to make way for the concrete monstrosity of the shopping centre leaving just the clocktower, a fate which looks likely for Victoria Leisure Centre. Guess the 'Victoria' tag is just plain unlucky in Nottingham.

Earlier post on this

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for highlighting this. I play badminton there twice a week with a group of friends and have played there for 13 years. Councillor Collins has told us there are lots of other places to play badminton nearby. This is not true.

Due to poor maintenance of the sports hall, it is unfortunately closed several times a year. It has been impossible on many occasions to find an alternative place to play badminton late evening.

It may be easy to book a court during the day, but for people like myself who work full time it is a different story.

I realise that simply looking at the numbers of people who use a sports hall may not make this apparent. After all 8 people playing on 4 courts ties up the sports hall for an hour.

However my experience is that there is a shortage of badminton courts in Nottingham, and we certainly don't need to get rid of more.