Friday, July 31, 2009

Sporting Village gets the goahead

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.


PhilG said...

Hi, can you tell us anything about how prices will be set? Are prices likely to increase compared to existing charges, e.g. for swimming? Will there be a charge for parking? During children's swimming lessons will parents be able to spectate at no extra cost as they can now? Will there be membership options / season tickets?

In general, who will set the prices and how?

Steve Horgan said...

Good question, and there were concerns when we started this project that ordinary people would be priced out of using Sporting Village. So, what we have done is to keep the price of core activities, including swimming, under the control of the Council, not the private operator. These will be set pretty much in the same way as they are at the moment. While we haven't done a detailed pricing schedule yet, I am pretty certain that prices for swimming will be more or less what they are today. We certainly won't be charging parents to spectacle on their children's lessons. Car Parking won't be charged for either, except maybe when there are special events going on in the Park.

I hope that this helps.