Calls to save Knighton leisure centre


Barry Jones

POWYS County Council could shut all the counties leisure centres for one day a week instead of shutting Knighton all together in a bid to save money, according to a councillor and former mayor.
Councillor Roger Bright said: “Surely the most sensible thing to do would be to close all 15 leisure centres in Powys for one day a week which would save more than £200,000 and all 15 facilities would be available for everyone throughout the rest of the week.”
He made the suggestion in a letter to Powys County Council’s Portfolio holder responsible for leisure services Cllr. Graham Brown.
Cllr Bright added: “As a resident of Knighton for over 80 years and having served on the town council for 23 years, five times as Mayor, I am very concerned at the proposed closure of our leisure centre.
“This centre and swimming pool was started by the people of Knighton, I am possibly one of the few surviving members of what was called The Swimming Pool Committee, our aim was to raise funds to build a swimming pool for the town and district.
“We revived the carnival and show to raise funds.
“The Swimming Pool Committee also started the horse trotting near Knighton towards raising funds for the pool, I was the founder member of that committee,” wrote Cllr Bright.
In a statement current Mayor Sally Vaughan and Deputy Mayor Bob Andrews said: “The swimming pool was built as a community project fund raised by the town and its community.
“Currently the leisure centre is used by five schools for swimming. It offers a host of activities that are well attended by the town and wider community. It offers an after school club Mondays to Fridays, Play Radnor Thursday mornings, Mothers and Toddlers swimming sessions two hours one week, Teen Fit, Legs, Bums and Tums, Squad aerobics, Gym and Swim, and many more. All the Brownies, rainbows and Guides rent the Youth wing.
“The Government is encouraging everyone to take more exercise and eat  healthily. They say  local councils are responsible for working with organisations to improve the health of people living in their area and for making sure that the right services are in place.
“What service will Powys provide for Knighton if they close our leisure centre? Do we not deserve a Leisure Service as we do pay our taxes just the same as Welshpool, Newtown, Brecon and Rhayader.
“Unless Powys will be giving us a significant reduction in our Council Tax for loss of service which would then maybe help compensate us for travelling eight miles to our nearest leisure centre.
“Everyone in Knighton pays their Community Charge and we would like to know what we are getting for that, as Knighton seems to be at a somewhat disadvantage when it comes to services in our town.
“To lose this leisure centre would have a significant and detrimental effect on the town and the surrounding community.
“We as a town have lost a significant amount of services in recent years. It is not only the parents, toddlers, schools, doctor referrals and other users of this important service in our town that will suffer, it will have a wider impact on the shops and other businesses in the town as they struggle on a daily basis,” said cllrs Vaughan and Andrews.
The Junior Council at Knighton Primary School  met with Mayor Vaughan to discuss an action plan against the proposed closure and pupils have sent letters to Cllr. Graham Brown at Powys County Council.
Children at the school all go swimming at the pool and use the centre for a variety of other out of school activities including the after school club, Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, parties and discos.
A petition has begun the Mayor has been seeking volunteers to take the petition around.

See full story in the County Times

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