An angry meeting of Luton Sports Network last week vehemently opposed the proposals which have been presented for the Aquatic Centre reports Liberal Democrat Councillor Sid Rutstein.
In particular, the serious reduction in facilities for squash, badminton, 5-a-side football, Stopsley Striders and footballers were highlighted by many present.
Cllr Rutstein pointed out to the meeting that the proposed facilities have already been seriously scaled back to reduce the cost – but the project is still over budget.
The consultation process throughout this project has been pathetic. The feasibility study was issued last November with no consultation whatsoever. Indeed, the report was kept secret until two days before the Labour Executive committee approved it. The examination in detail was then delayed for three months.
The outline business case was accepted by the Labour Executive committee two days after the so-called consultation ended. Few responses were received and clearly no notice was taken of those responses.
The complete failure to consult the users of the existing facilities has meant that a redesign of the project will be required, in order to provide more badminton courts, changing rooms for all users and not only the swimmers, as well as consideration being given to better facilities for outside sports users.
The consequence of these changes for the budget and programme are not known, but it will not help to meet the Labour council’s commitment to provide the facility in time for the Olympics.