Campaigners accuse council of betrayal as Jubilee Sports Centre demolition gets go-ahead
Campaigners accused the council of a “betrayal of the Olympic legacy” after controversial plans to demolish a leisure centre were approved by the town hall.
The Jubilee Sports Centre, Caird Street, Queens Park, will be sold to a property developer for �17 million, with the cash used to redevelop the Moberly Sports Centre, half a mile away in Brent.
A petition against the proposals gained 5,500 signatures from residents.
Chairwoman of the Save the Jubilee campaign Paula Trimmer said the decision had caused feelings of injustice in the community.
She said: “People need accessible sports facilities if the legacy of the Olympics is to inspire them. In particular children living in deprived inner city areas like Queens Park need sports facilities which can be reached easily.”
Lauren Gonzalez, a 13-year-old who has used the Jubilee Sports Centre regularly for years said her mum would not let her travel alone to the Moberly when she was younger because of the busy roads.
The redeveloped centre, which will be larger than the current centres combined, will include a 25m swimming pool and an eight court sports hall.
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After consultation with residents, the council offered a sports hall on the Jubilee site, for badminton, five-a-side football and exercise classes.
Campaigners said this was not an adequate replacement, and would not meet the needs of community, particularly less mobile people who used the swimming pool.
Julius Hogben, Save the Jubilee secretary said residents would continue to fight the plans, and are seeking to protect the centre under the Localism Act.
He added: “Its outrageous, its all about the property deal, which the council are clearly determined to go ahead with.
“The offer of a new sports hall is a sop, we want to keep our swimming pool.”
Westminster councillor Steve Summers deputy cabinet member for sport and the Olympics said: “In this Olympic year, I am delighted to put be progressing our plans for the new sports centre at Moberly to the next stage of detailed design. It’s a major new facility development offering a comprehensive mix of sports facilities and represents a significant improvement on the current offer.
“We understand the concerns of the community regarding the loss of facilities at Jubilee and hope that the proposed new community sports hall – which has been prompted by feedback from residents - will go a long way to answer those concerns.
“We will continue to work with residents to ensure their views are taken on board as the proposals develop towards the planning stages.”