Dear Councilor Lowe.
Proposed closure and demolition of Halesowen Leisure Centre.
I have learned from press reports that Dudley MBC is intending to close Halesowen Leisure Centre (together with those at Stourbridge and Dudley) to be replaced by two new centre’s at undisclosed locations.
As Chairman of Halesowen Chamber of Trade, I am disappointed that I had to learn of this highly significant proposal which will, if carried out, have a major impact upon the traders of central Halesowen as well wider implications for the citizens of this town.
I would have appreciated to have had at least prior advice of the Council’s intentions if not actual prior consultation.
Rumours abound in the town as to the likely future use of the land upon which our centre currently stands and it has put me into a very difficult position seeking to respond to traders when I am completely ignorant of the proposal let alone able to give any reassurances or advice.
With the closure of the Leisure Centre, we will see the final destruction of almost all of the civic amenities this town once enjoyed – the Fire Station has gone as too have the Magistrates Court and our Council House with the Police Station due for closure and demolition in the New Year. Now, only the Cornbow Hall and the Library remain to tell of our past status as an independent and flourishing town. One has to wonder about the future of the Hall and Library.
The implications of these proposals for the trading status of our town centre cannot be understated, and since this Chamber together with officers and members of Dudley MBC are actively taking steps to regenerate the trading prospects of the town though the proposed establishment of a Town Centre Business Improvement District this is a blow to our prospects of getting approval from the traders for the BID.
I would appreciate further information as to the future intentions for the land upon which our Leisure Centre stands. Presumably it will be sold, but what uses of the land are likely to be permitted? The location of the replacement two Leisure Centres will be interesting, but wherever they are Located, they will not replace the loss of such a major amenity so close to the town centre and which brings large numbers of people into the town centre, not just to the leisure centre itself.
I and Members of the Chamber of Trade would appreciate the opportunity to meet urgently with you and officers of the Council to discuss this major proposal so that we can perhaps move forward together for the benefit of the town and particularly of the traders of the town centre.