Keynsham Leisure Centre future Oct 2015

Keynsham Leisure Centre future
October 2015

Keynsham Leisure Centre is facing an uncertain future after the local Council met back in September 2015 to discuss knocking down the old one and replacing it with a new facility. It may sound like good news to have a brand new leisure centre in a town going through a multimillion pound investment period, so what’s wrong?

The new facility looks set to lose many of the features the current one has due to costs, it will only have a swimming pool and an extended gym. There will be no facilities for badminton, squash table tennis or any multi court activities as the squash courts and sports hall will be lost.

Another lose in the new designs would be the swimming pool viewing gallery. Currently Keynsham Swimming Club compete every week in swimming leagues and host Galas. Under the new council proposals they would be unable to compete in such competitions and would be forced to move elsewhere.

Here is an open letter to the council, from Dave Biddleston, which M Tanner Sports supports:

The Latest Leisure Centre Development: Open Letter to Tim Warren, Leader of BANES’ Council,
Keynsham Resident’s Leisure Action Group

15 Oct 2015 — Dear Tim,

I’m writing this open letter to you as in our meetings so far you have always been generous enough to provide time and effort to your residents over a range of matters. I was very pleased to say that no chair I had dealt with previously was good enough to spend time with protesters listening for 20 minutes prior to the discussion on refugees.

That being said, I need to let you know that a considerable movement is taking place in Keynsham regarding the leisure developments plans and residents rightly feel aggrieved at the significant loss of facilities at a time when the population of Keynsham is significantly growing. I had underestimated the strength of feeling myself, and to give you an idea, I’m involved with a petition that is almost 1000 strong in under a week, I’ve received more correspondence on the issue than the entire correspondence I’ve received on any issue in the previous 2 years and more members of the public met with and spoke at Town Council than I have ever experienced.

At the last town council meeting our BANES councillors clearly laid the blame for the poor consultation and creation of the GLL contract at the feet of the previous administration. Not only in passing either, it was mentioned several times and on occasion, quite sarcastically. Subsequently, a video was placed on a local website that showed your administration finally passing the funds for the signing of the contract on September 9th, 6 days before the first ever consultation with the people of Keynsham which was, in truth, entirely inept. I think its now possible to say unequivocally that no consultation took place on the facilities with the people of Keynsham whatsoever, and that was a mistake proportional only in my eyes to the Bath Thermae Spa fiasco of a number of years back.

In the video, I believe it was Michael Evans who mentioned the lack of squash courts at the Bath Leisure Centre and I understand that this has now been rectified. Can you confirm that his discussion at that late stage led to squash courts being provided to Bath Leisure Centre? I would have sincerely hoped that our Keynsham councillors would have stood up for Keynsham Leisure Centre in the same way and it is a tragedy that this was not the case.

Tim, the people of Keynsham stand to lose a sports hall, badminton clubs, squash courts, swimming galas, 5 a side football, basket ball tournaments and children’s parties. Keynsham has a proud history of swimming league competitions and this is in tatters under your watch. I would like to quote some of the rhetoric used in the cabinet meeting regarding the brave new world of investment to support the fitness for life strategy, but I fear I may cry.

Tim, write to Keynsham assuring them that they will get a sports hall and spectator gallery please. I would rather we didn’t have words like ‘try’ or ‘look into’ or ‘depending on finance’ or any other suggestion that the blame is to be laid at the door of the previous administration. Please, as Nike puts it, “Just Do It.”

With Kind Regards,
Cllr Dave Biddleston

You can sign the online petition here

The picture used was found on Google Images belonging to Keynsham Voice

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