On Thursday Basildon Council voted to sign contracts for the construction of the Sporting Village. For those that don't know, this is an excellent public sporting facility with a 50m pool, AAA standard athletics track, gym, regional gymnastics centre, large sports hall and so on. The project should deliver in time for the Village to support the Olympics and it gives Basildon excellent sports facilities that are as good as any in the region. Now, when we began the project the funding was all in place. With the recession land values have fallen, which has affected the value of the sites we are going to dispose of to help pay for the project. So, we have had to close the gap with some additional sites and borrowing, which does represent a risk, albeit a calculated one. There is a risk of not doing the project though, because we would not get Olympic legacy grants again and our existing facilities need millions of pounds of work. So, we are going ahead.
Not everyone is in favour though, especially the local Labour party. Their main objection appears to be that the Sporting Village will be so successful that it will be overrun by people from all across the region so that local people don't get a look in. Their thesis appears to be that we should have rubbish facilities that no-one would want to travel to. I am not making this up. As I told them on Thursday, the Conservative administration is prepared to deal with the consequences of a Sporting Village so good that demand threatens to exceed supply. Certainly nothing built by Basildon Labour party has ever had that problem.