Philip Gleason is a local resident and member of the SPLASH group fighting to reopen South Leeds Sports Centre. Below is an open letter he’s sent to South Leeds Life regarding Saturday’s protest, which Steve Peacock covered for us. The letter doesn’t mince words – but do you agree with Philip?…
After just over a year of South Leeds sports centre being closed SPLASH held a protest outside the centre on 5th November. Over 50 people braved the bad weather to show their contempt at the way the hub of Holbeck and Beeston has been left to rot, as has the locals’ health and wellbeing.
Why has such a vital resource been left to decay when we have the 2012 Olympics on our doorstep? We may have Morley and Armley but these are totally inadequate for the citizens of Holbeck and Beeston, who would have to catch a bus with buggies (buses which you can only get two buggies on), or if you are in a wheelchair if the spaces are full you have to wait for another bus then get to the centre of choice. If you are lucky enough to drive to them the parking is totally insufficient to take the traffic the centres were supposedly designed to carry.
When we as a city are closing local amenities and saving money why would a resource be closed when it can be run as a profit-making centre and also cover the loss for some of our disabled community who have lost vital centres to meet, Shire View being a prime example. If the centre were opened up it could of course cater for the sports but also be a centre for the disabled to meet.
We talk about communities but by closing the centre we drove members of Holbeck and Beeston into their homes and effectively destroyed a community. The centre wasn’t just a place to go swimming, play badminton, etc; it was a place where you met up with your fellow community members and caught up on what was happening. It kept the children off the streets and actually got them off their video games and developing healthy attitudes. This would save future resources being used by the police and the NHS in Leeds.
Come on Leeds City Council, a bit of forward planning and the cuts would have been easier to administer.
We say we care about the wellbeing of our citizens, but where is this care?