Shortly before last year’s borough elections the Tories announced a huge £12.7m spending pot for improving leisure centres in Farnham, Godalming and building a new one in Cranleigh.
The Tories accepted that the massive population increase in the east of the borough and the sorry state of existing facilities rendered it unfit for the large influx of young families, so only Cranleigh should benefit from a new build.
The EXECUTIVE gave the go-ahead for a detailed design and procurement exercise to extend Farnham and Godalming leisure centres and for up plans for a new leisure centre in Cranleigh.
It anticipated that Godalming would have approximately 1,500 new homes, and Farnham 2,780, but although residents there are currently well served, with existing leisure facilities, improvements could be made. Haslemere Leisure Centre had received a £4.2m refurbishment in 2014. Cranleigh and its environs would 5,000 new homes.
It was agreed to set aside £3.2m to press ahead with detailed specifications for improvements at Farnham and Godalming leisure centres, subject to negotiations with Places for People on their future management. However, Cranleigh would be the real winner in the borough’s leisure stakes with a new purpose-built centre, possibly on a new site?
Now over a year later – there are no firm plans for the development in Cranleigh and …
On Tuesday Tory Cllr Richard Seaborne (Bramley) asked officers would money be set aside for just the maintenance of Cranleigh’s Leisure Centre?
He added. “Those of us in the east of the borough have raised the question of the absence of any eastern representation on the council’s EXECUTIVE. Which doesn’t give the area a “fair shout.” Whilst future funding for projects in Godalming and Farnham was laudable, what about Cranleigh and Dunsfold Park, why weren’t they on the list?
Would funds be set aside to keep Cranleigh leisure Centre going until it was redeveloped?
Officers gave assurances that a rolling programme of maintenance would continue to ensure Cranleigh’s centre continued to operate. But there was no mention of a new centre!
However, Finance director Graham Clarke advised there would be an opportunity for councillors in the East to bid for monies from the Community Infrastructure Fund through the CIL Advisory Board. Might be an idea to start that conversation NOW, he suggested.