Sunday, 21 November 2010

Town's Leisure Centre - Is it Really Going to be Closed?

While editing the Houghton Regis News Desk on facebook, I drew attention to the proposals by Central Bedfordshire Council for various cost cutting exercises. School crossing patrols, street lights, the manning of CCTV cameras, the closure of a resource facility for after school homework club, the closure of employment facilities for some of the most mentally and physically challenged people in society, not to mention the curtailment of fly-tipping response were all among the cuts proposed that will directly affect Houghton Regis. But the one thing that seems to have polarised public annoyance is the proposal to close the Houghton Regis Leisure Centre.

Action groups have sprung up; as of yesterday there were five "Save Houghon Regis Leisure Centre" pages or groups on facebook alone. An e-petition quickly raised over 200 signatures and was presented to the Central Bedfordshire Council at a committee stage last week. One of our Houghton Regis CBC councillors appeared on BBC Three Counties Radio. Spontaneous paper petitions sprung up and continue to run through the town in various shops. Someone has written to me as "Acting Chairman of Houghton Regis Leisure Centre Action Group" inviting me to a meeting.

This is a people's campaign. Not a Liberal Democrat campaign. Not a Conservative campaign. Not a Labour campaign. A unifying campaign of the people for the people. This is the sort of campaign that demands more media attention. It demands a public show of solidarity. And as one of our town councillor's dared to opine last week, it might even demand a public march.

I am sure that the intentions behind the cuts were that those most in need should not suffer; it's now up to those at Central Bedfordshire Council to see that they don't.
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