I RECENTLY attended a consultation meeting on the county council’s plans for a new leisure centre in Ashington.
The meeting left me with the following impressions.
Although we were given our ‘say’, we were nicely guided along a route which ensured that we could only vote for one of two council options.
The future (and possibilities) of the existing site were not to be discussed, but we were encouraged to state the shortcomings of that facility.
The council’s ‘approved’ sites were the old Asda site or that of the former hospital.
The meeting unanimously agreed that access to the old hospital site was very poor; therefore the Asda project was voted the preferred option.
The council has said that the centre is for the people of Ashington. It is to house doctors, dentists (most people already have arrangements in place for these services) and many other facilities.
Surely, then, the centre is for the people of the whole area?
However, the people who live in and around Ashington will be obliged to put up with increased traffic problems, even bigger than those already caused by the new Asda.
This centre, in one of the council’s approved locations, will mean less people walking up and down the main street.
Shops will suffer from this and the town centre will fare much worse as a consequence.