Doubts over decision can’t taint legacy of new centre

It’s important the parade continues – but safely

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No-one in Gosport could doubt that the building of a new leisure centre is a good thing.

The town desperately needs an updated facility and the added attraction of more activities including all-weather football pitches, a modern pool and a dance studio.

But while the redevelopment of the Holbrook site is badly needed, we are disappointed to learn of Gosport Borough Council’s sudden decision to close the existing leisure centre earlier than intended.

A promise had been made that the old centre would stay open until just a few weeks before the new leisure facility was ready.

The fact that they are now going to be left without a public swimming pool for the summer holidays is deeply regrettable, especially this close to the start of the Olympics.

The eyes of the world will be on London in July and one of the key aims will be to inspire more young people to take an interest in sport and fitness.

But if the children of Gosport want to replicate the sporting achievements of the swimmers they see taking part in the 2012 Games, they will have to travel to Fareham or Portsmouth to jump in the pool.

We understand that the council does not want to waste money on repairing a centre that was always set to be demolished. But it also has a duty to balance cost issues with giving the people what they want and need.

We’re pleased that an emergency meeting will now take place to look into this issue in more detail. Many people have been left bitterly disappointed by this decision and the council must now convince them that every avenue to keep the centre open was explored.

Holbrook’s existing staff also deserve more of an explanation.

It was their understanding that the new centre would mean that their jobs were safe, but they have now been thrown into a state of flux.

The council must act swiftly to appease those who feel let down because it would be a great pity for the new centre to be tainted because of the way this situation has been handled.