THE architect tasked with designing the new Uttoxeter Leisure Centre has presented their current plans.
A working group, put together by East Staffordshire Borough Council as part of the process to seek the best options for the future of the leisure centre, met for the first time last week.
Including councillors, leisure centre representatives, community leader Jerry Latham and Dove Valley Swimming Club, the group was presented with all options for the new centre by the architect.
Leader of the borough council, Councillor Richard Grosvenor, told the Advertiser what the group learned from the meeting and said nothing had been ruled in or out as yet.
He said: “The object of the meeting last week was for the architect to present all options, including new build, and for the group to receive those options and comment on the facilities that each provided.
“To take into account if they enhanced the offering or not, the length of any delays, what ‘bang’ we get for our ‘buck’ and to feedback those comments to the architect.
“Costs were not gone into in any detail – in fact we were clear to avoid that discussion specifically to have the debate about options without the encumbrance at this stage of thinking about the cost, even though the costs will play a part in our decision making.”
Uttoxeter Community Action Group vice chairman Jerry Latham, who had been a major critic of the borough council’s dealings over the new leisure centre, told a meeting of the group last week that he had been wrong.
He said: “I have to apologise for saying that the borough council had made their minds up on moving the leisure centre out of town and it was all over bar the shouting.
“Having attended the meeting last week I now accept that it is carrying out an absolutely genuine look at all the proposals.
“It has not made up its mind and I have come away very encouraged. It was all good news in my view.”
Mr Latham said the meeting was told how long the leisure centre would need to be closed for each option which involved redeveloping the current Oldfields Road site.
He said: “The options for the current site would mean a closure of anything from nine to 15 months.
“We have to get over the fact that if we want the leisure centre on the current site there will be closures.
“Burton had the experience with the Meadowside where it had a lengthy closure but it had such an excellent facility at the end of it that people came back.
“In fact now it actually has far more members and I think the same could happen at Uttoxeter.”