A PETITION to keep Uttoxeter Leisure Centre in the heart of the town has been signed by more than 1,000 people in the first few weeks since its launch.
The petition aims to persuade East Staffordshire Borough Council to keep the centre on the existing site rather than move it to the A50.
It has been launched as a joint venture between Uttoxeter Community Action Group (UCAG) and Uttoxeter Forum 50 Plus as the borough council awaits tenders for both potential sites for the centre.
Community champion Jerry Latham, who is a member of both groups, said: “The petition to keep the Uttoxeter Leisure Centre in the town has got off to a flying start with approximately 1,000 signatures being added already.
“The Uttoxeter Action Group will continue to canvas for more signatures asking that the borough council use the existing leisure centre site and its surroundings for the new facility.
“They believe that relocation to an out of town centre by the A50 will make access difficult and inconvenient for users, especially the local schools.
“While they acknowledge that there is a minority of people in the area that expressed support for the A50 site they believe that view was taken because of a fear that the leisure centre would have to be closed for a period if it was redeveloped on its existing site.
“UCAG’s support for the redevelopment of the centre stresses that by using some of the available land adjoining its present town centre site the new facility can be carried out in phases that will avoid any closure.
“Keeping the centre open while further construction is carried out is feasible with good project management they claim, and will meet the overwhelming desire expressed by the people of Uttoxeter.” The borough council has previously said it is keeping an open mind over the two options and it is currently waiting to receive the tenders before deciding which site offers the best value.
It has continually denied that any decision has been made over the centre’s future.
The two groups have urged people to support this petition, saying: “We treasure our town and want to see facilities retained within the town centre. Relocating the leisure centre to a site on the extreme edge of the town would represent a backward step in preserving ‘in-town’ services and must be resisted.” The petition will run until mid-September; many of the petition forms are already circulating in the town and can also be found at the You in Mind cafè, in Carter Street, and Ye Olde Talbot pub, in the Market Place.