Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Thumbs up for Basildon Sporting Village

Basildon's Conservative administration is faced with a crumbling sporting infrastructure that was designed for the assumptions of the 80s municipal socialism, which more or less held that competitive sport was a bad thing. So, we have small sports centres that are intentionally inadequate for the development of sporting skills to a high level, one swimming pool was actually designed to be just short of 25m to prevent competitive use. Labour Council administrations also failed to spend to maintain the fabric of Basildon's sports centres, pretty much limiting funding to what was required to keep the rain out. Our answer to all of this is to fold a number of small sports centres into one large, world-class facility characterised as a Sporting Village. Let us be clear, the idea is to provide a facility for everything from leisure use all the way up to elite sports and at a price ordinary people can afford. The trouble is that our local Labour party have suggested that we are going to aim it at the David Lloyd crowd and they are really exercised at the option of a third-party running it under contract. So, having created the problem in administration, they vote against the solution in opposition. The good news is that the Labour government doesn't agree with them and they have pledged £5 million to the project, which brings the total available funding up to £25m. So, the Sporting Village will move forward and we will be out to tender shortly, hopefully now with local cross-party support. Basildon is geographically close enough to the site of the London Olympic Stadium for our Sporting Village to be a supporting facility for the games. The challenge now is now to be ready for the run up to 2012.

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