I am glad that this week Broxtowe Borough Council and East Midlands Education Trust released a statement that confirmed negotiations have started positively and an agreement has been reached that both parties will work together to maintain leisure provision which benefits both students and the wider community.
The Leisure Centre is a vital part of Kimberley’s community and I want to present the Council with evidence of the strength of feeling that the negotiations must end successfully. I have been contacted by many local residents who felt excluded from the process as the initially-requested public consultation had not taken place. As the MP, it is my role to represent the views of all of the people of Kimberley. Currently, many residents feel unrepresented in the ongoing negotiations and are, understandably, worried that their interests may be overlooked if they are not known.
It was only in May that I addressed rumours about the potential permanent closure of the Kimberley Leisure Centre and, like so many in Kimberley, I established myself as an opponent of such a move (see here). I recognise how important the Leisure Centre is to residents in Kimberley and have heard many stories about how it is where some of you learned to swim as children, and now take your own children there too. As one resident said, it is a ‘vital cog’ in our community. The facility is used by young and old alike, and, I am sure, will be used even more frequently in the near future as people burn off built-up energy from months of lockdown.
I have received assurances from the East Midlands Education Trust that their aspiration is to simply seek a revised agreement with the Borough Council which will give the children in their care improved access to their own building during the school day. The Trust remains committed to the retention of community leisure provision beyond school time. There are 7 schools in the town of Kimberley in this Trust and they care for almost 3,000 of the town’s children. I support their aspiration to improve the opportunities for local children whilst wanting a long term relationship with the Borough Council for community leisure provision at this site.
I therefore have created this consultation survey for you to tell me what you use Kimberley Leisure Centre for and why it is so important to you that an agreement is reached to ensure the Centre remains open for people in the north of the borough with improved access during the school day for the benefit of our local children and a long term sustainable facility for the public too.
I will present the responses to Broxtowe Borough Council for consideration ensuring that you, the residents of Kimberley, feel represented in the negotiations.
I remain confident that with your support - and the good will from both Broxtowe Borough Council and the East Midlands Education Trust - a fair agreement will be reached to ensure that students, residents and the wider community can continue to benefit from the excellent service and facilities the leisure centre provides.