Majority are against centre says councillor

Submitted picture'LEISURE PLAN: Artist's impression of what the new Belper Leisure Centre could look like.
Submitted picture'LEISURE PLAN: Artist's impression of what the new Belper Leisure Centre could look like.

a BELPER councillor claims the majority of people are opposed to a proposal to build a new multi-million pound leisure centre in the town.

Borough and town councillor Peter Makin insists that people in the town, who are against the development, are actually in the majority.

In last week’s News, Landmark Cannon LLP, from Leeds, claimed the consensus of opinion in Belper was that locals, who went along to see an exhibition, were in favour of a new centre.

It staged a two-day exhibition of the designs for the proposed complex off Field Lane, in the town, where representatives of the firm were on hand to answer any questions the public might have.

Richard Morton, a director at Landmark, hailed the exhibition a success and told the News that the “majority of the people who came to see the plans were very keen to have these new facilities in Belper”.

But Cllr Makin, who represents Belper Central on Amber Valley Borough Council, rubbished the claim.

He said based on the amount of correspondence, telephone calls and emails he had received, that is was not the case.

“We have been bombarded by so many ‘artist’s impressions’ that the effect of them has been much diluted,” said Cllr Makin.

“Richard Morton stated that the people who were against this development were very much in minority.

“I have to tell you that for those of us who live and work here, his words have caused great incredulity as nothing could be further from the truth.

“This is an important issue for the residents of Belper and so far the consultation exercise has been abysmal.

“We were asked to choose either option A or B of the same choice. There was no mention of using any other sites in Belper, or the refurbishment of the existing leisure centre.

“As to the issue of cost or value for money — nothing. We deserve much better.”

The new centre does have the backing of the borough council. But Cllr Makin believed the site could be used for other purposes.

He said: “I have made no secret of the fact that if this site has to be developed, then it should be for retail activities and not for an extra leisure centre.”

l What do you think? Let us know your views on the proposal at editor@belpernews.co.uk or write to us at the address in the panel on Page 2.