A DECISION on the future of Uttoxeter Leisure Centre does not look likely to be made in the next 12 months as a petition to keep it on its current site tops 2,200 signatures.
As reported in the Advertiser last week the petition, organised jointly by the Uttoxeter Community Action Group and the Uttoxeter and District 50 Plus Forum, was handed in to East Staffordshire Borough Council.
When it was handed in by action group vice-chairman Jerry Latham 1,797 people had signed the petition which calls for the new leisure centre to be built on the existing Oldfields Road site or adjacent land, rather than moved to an out of town site.
However, more signatures are being added every day and the total is now at 2,241 which Mr Latham called an ‘outstanding result’ but a response he received from the council suggests a decision on the centre wont be made by the authority for a good while yet.
Peter Davies, ESBC democratic services and resilience planning manager, said in a statement to Mr Latham: “I write to confirm that the petition will be submitted to cabinet in approximately 12 months time when the substantive decision is taken on Uttoxeter Leisure Centre.
“As explained you will be given three minutes to address members at that meeting.” Mr Latham told the Advertiser that the timescale for the petition to be considered was disappointing.
He said: “It is interesting that the decision looks as if it is still some 12 months away and having such a long time to consider the matter before the petition is submitted to the cabinet surely makes a mockery of (council leader) Richard Grosvenor’s recent statement that the views of residents will be considered.
“I will then be given all of three minutes to present the petitioners’ case. It feels like the horse will have bolted before we get a chance to shut the door.
“Perhaps there would be more democracy if they were prepared to listen before they reach a conclusion.” Meanwhile, the Labour shadow cabinet at the borough council has been temporarily shut down after an unauthorised leak of confidential information in relation to the Uttoxeter Leisure Centre.
The group of four senior Labour councillors Julian Mott, Alison Legg, Ian North and Dennis Fletcher — was disbanded on the order of Andy O’Brien, the borough council’s chief executive He said in a statement: “Following a leak of confidential information about residents’ views regarding the Uttoxeter Leisure Centre improvement project by a member of the recently formed shadow cabinet, I took a decision as chief executive to cancel the a r r a n g e m e n t , whereby the shadow cabinet was briefed by officers, because senior officers and I were concerned that confidential information and officer views would not be respected in the future.
“Hence the arrangement had to end. Julian Mott apologised unreservedly to me in June 2012 about this matter.
“I hope to revisit the issue when the dust has settled with councillors Fletcher and North.”