Wealden District Council has passed a motion to explore the possibility of keeping Uckfield Leisure Centre open.
At a meeting of the Full Council recently, a motion proposed by newly elected Councillor Ben Reed and seconded by Councillor Spike Mayhew was approved by fellow councillors.
The motion called on the council leader and chief executive to explore every possibility to keep the Uckfield Leisure Centre, including swimming pool open while alternative options are investigated and that all relevant parties are invited by Wealden to meet and resolve to explore every option to save the provision of leisure centre and pool services.
The motion also asked the leader and chief executive to consider including the continuance of a pool and dry-side facilities in Uckfield as one of the council's priorities.
Following a comprehensive leisure provision review, in October 2020, Wealden agreed to hand back the dual use leisure centre in Uckfield to East Sussex County Council (ESCC) at the end of its lease, in large part to remove a layer of bureaucracy in the operation of the centre that is run to serve the school to which it is attached.
Following the uncertainty caused by the COVID 19 pandemic, to assist with an orderly transition back to ESCC, the lease was extended at Uckfield for a further year.
A public consultation by ESCC went live in March 2023 and closed on 27 May 2023. ESCC is continuing to look at the options for the site post July 2023.
Councillor Ben Reed, who represents Uckfield, Ridgewood and Little Horsted wards, said, “During our recent elections many Wealden residents became aware that ESCC is consulting about the Uckfield swimming pool and sport facilities.
“The community is campaigning to save these services alongside residents and other groups in and around Uckfield. I would like to thank council officers and elected members who have worked together on this important motion together.
“The support received this early on is really welcoming and exactly what we need to make changes. Wealden residents voted for change and better solutions, and I hope that we can work as a team to secure facilities for Uckfield.”
Councillor Spike Mayhew, who represents Uckfield New Town after being elected in the May elections, said, “Our priorities should be to maintain and fix the facilities we have before we look at building new complexes.
“The motion is to explore and keep the leisure centre open, if it closes now, it will not reopen and that’s what we need to protect.”
To view the link of the Full Council meeting motions, please follow the link Full Council - Wednesday 24 May 2023, 10:00am - Start video at 0:54:06 - Wealden District Council webcasts (public-i.tv)