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New £9m leisure centre set for planning go-ahead

Highly controversial plans for a £9 million leisure centre in Workington are poised to go ahead.

Workiington lesire center graphic
An artist’s impression of how the centre could look

Councillors are being recommended to approve proposals for a new centre at The Cloffocks at a crunch meeting next week.

But the recommendation has come with a warning that going ahead with a new development rather than concentrating efforts on the current leisure centre at Moorclose would leave that estate a “concrete jungle”.

Battle lines for and against the centre are being drawn before Tuesday’s planning meeting.

In a last-ditch attempt to sway next week’s vote, campaigners are pressing for members to throw out the plans.

Moorclose councillor Denis Robertson, who is heading the campaign, said that following the closure of the estate’s sixth form centre and the upcoming closure of Southfield secondary school, the area can’t take any more.

“Removing the leisure centre will be the final nail in the coffin for Moorclose,” he warned. “Moorclose will be turned into a concrete jungle – I dread to think what will be next.”

Mr Robertson is appealing directly to the members of the panel to use “common sense” and not be whipped into a decision.

“Moorclose is one of the poorest wards and it shouldn’t be stripped of its facilities,” he added.

Altogether 15 people have lodged objections against the application and a further four letters of support have been received.

The neighbouring cricket club has slammed the plans, warning that any more development in The Cloffocks area would result in the ground being severely flooded; players from the town’s legendary Uppies and Downies fear it could spell the end of the historic game as the centre would be in the middle of their ‘ground’; and town centre gym owners have told of the potential disaster to their businesses.

Workington town council is also against the development because of flooding issues.

However, the planning officer’s report – which has been circulated to the panel’s 12 members – is backing the plan and recommending approval.

The report states: “The proposed development is considered to be a sustainable form of development that accords with the relevant planning policies.

“The provision of the proposed leisure facilities in this highly accessible location would provide enhanced, substantial and sustainable recreation and leisure facilities for the benefit of the community with Workington and the wider areas.

“In conclusion the proposal offers significant benefits with no significant harm resulting from the development and it is considered that planning permission should be granted.”

It also quashes fears over flooding, the impact on wildlife and the former coal workings under the site, as no relevant experts have objected to the plans.

The development panel meets on Tuesday at 1pm, in Allerdale House, Workington.

Have your say

The current sports centre is decrepit and would cost far more to sustain over the next 20 years than the cost of a new sports centre. Allerdale has possibly the worst sporting facilities of anywhere in the country and most definitely the county, we need a new sports centre!!

Whether that is in the town centre or moorclose, the area needs to progress and without investment what are we left with? Nothing. The rest of the country basks in all it's facilities while allerdale sits there and looks at what could have been because of people like yourselves forever whinging!! The money will be spent on sporting facilities whatever happens so take your pick, brand new shiny sports centre, or constantly maintained heap of rubbish that we currently have.

Posted by Andrew on 22 July 2014 at 08:38

of course the planning application was passed...did anybody really think it wouldn't be...and as for the £9m its nearly £10m and will take nearly 20 years to pay off!!!! cost will be in the region of £20m that's if nothing changes and interest rates etc stay the same..oh well..ABC knows best lol..

Posted by mrs w on 21 July 2014 at 08:36

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