Sacrificing Sobell sports centre to pay for other services
01 September, 2017
Sobell Leisure Centre
• WITH just a few days to go before GLL Better has said it will start destructive building work for the proposed trampoline park, we have seen a surge in support for our campaign to “Save The Sobell Sports Hall” at www.change.org/p/petition-to-save-the-sobell-centre-sports-hall.
We have well over 1,600 signatures and have seen a 35 per cent increase over the past week alone. Despite the strong support from Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Catherine West and Councillor Paul Convery, the other Labour councillors, who have privately expressed severe concerns to us, have felt unable to make their views public due to party political loyalties.
Without therefore the promised public consultation or any form of open debate, a handful of Islington’s executive councillors, led by council leader Richard Watts and deputy leader Janet Burgess, are pushing thorough this highly contentious project regardless of the overwhelming opposition expressed by Sobell customers and residents.
Those incumbent councillors who have chosen to remain silent on this project may well find they struggle to retain the support of their voters at the next local election in May 2018.
The true motives behind this decision also appear to be misguided and wrong. Deputy leader Janet Burgess has said: “At a time of huge government cuts to council budgets, income from the trampoline park will help the council to continue to deliver frontline services to residents.”
Sacrificing a sports centre with a national reputation and an Olympic legacy for community sports provision in order to pay for other council services is a bad decision.
The council executive and GLL Better have consistently refused to engage in any meaningful sense with our representations. If this ill-fated project does go ahead, this council will be remembered as allowing irreversible damage to this well-loved and well-used community sports centre.