Aghast in disbelief

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Lib Dem Coun Jack Clarkson’s suggestion that ‘Labour should be fair to all’ (Jan 10) left me aghast in disbelief.

To compare the situation over funds for Stocksbridge Sports centre with the disgraceful decision taken by the Lib Dems when they were in power to block the provision of a Wincobank community centre smacks of, at best, ignorance or worst, dishonesty.

It was 2004 when the council closed the old Wincobank community centre (in an old washhouse), to enable urgent repairs. On further inspection, asbestos was discovered and professional advice was that it would be cheaper to demolish and build new. Several public meetings were held, two attended by then-chief executive Bob Kerslake and the local MP, where it was agreed that the building be demolished and a temporary building (mobile classroom) be provided, until funds became available for a purpose built one, probably many years away. This was fine, there was money in the buildings capital program to cover it.

Suddenly, under the Lib Dem council, we were told an alternative option could be offered: the community building, part of Newman Court old people’s complex, when the residential flats were demolished.

This seemed a better option and though it meant a delay it gave the community a more permanent building and at the same time released land for a capital receipt.

I expressed concerns at the time regarding the budget provision, but was constantly reassured it was still in the budget and when I saw it on the original Lib Dem Cabinet agenda I breathed a sigh of relief that at last we appeared to be reaching a satisfactory conclusion.

However at the last minute the item was taken off the agenda and the money moved to be used in Lib Dem-favoured areas. Was that fair Jack?

But to compare the decision to honour the commitment made by both parties to the people of Wincobank with the Stocksbridge Sports Centre, compounds the folly of Jack Clarkson’s letter. The Lib Dem decision to spend the whole of the leisure capital on Stocksbridge Sports Centre and ignore the rest of our centres would have been grossly unfair.

When the four sports facilities were transferred to SIV, saving the city £300,000, there followed an inspection. Based on that, it was decided Stocksbridge Sports Centre would receive £101,000, Heeley pool £102,000, Springs Leisure Centre £53,000 and Graves Leisure Centre £102,000, to meet the needs of each of these communities, ie really being fair to all areas.

By all means fight for your patch but not at the expense of some of the city’s poorest communities.

Coun Peter Price Labour, Shiregreen/Brightside