More responses to Lodge plans

PUBLISHED: 12:08 22 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:33 06 May 2010

SIR – Contrary to your letters page of October 8, the recent Westminster Lodge consultation was indeed well supported. The council received over 600 individual responses, as well as comments from 19 organisations who took the opportunity to arrange indivi

SIR - Contrary to your letters page of October 8, the recent Westminster Lodge consultation was indeed well supported.

The council received over 600 individual responses, as well as comments from 19 organisations who took the opportunity to arrange individual meetings with the project officer to discuss the proposed plans.

Two focus groups from our Citizens Panel 'challenged' the facilities mix (they both preferred the health suite and the soft crèche option). St Albans Disability Access group have also been consulted and their comments incorporated.

Based on similar consultations elsewhere in the country, our response is excellent.We are told that the Mid Bedfordshire consultation on the Flitwick Leisure Facility, for example, received only 356 responses.

It would appear that St Albans District residents are more highly engaged than residents elsewhere. Long may that continue.

CLLR SHEILA BURTON

Portfolio Holder for Sport and Healthy Living

St Albans District Council

SIR - The objections to the new Sports Centre proposed for Westminster Lodge are petty and symptomatic of sections of society that need to find fault in positive ventures simply to justify their own existence.

Notwithstanding the fact that 150 new trees are being planted, there has been an objection due to the loss of trees (by guess who, the person responsible for trees). The new centre takes up no more land than the existing one and replaces more trees than it removes.

This new proposal has been "in consultation" for as long as I have lived in St Albans, no doubt the delay fuelled by the lunch-club attitudes that prevail in our local government, which are all talk and no action. I suspect that only the momentum of the London Olympics has moved this consultation closer to a reality.

Meanwhile, in the intervening period, Watford has managed to build, demolish and rebuild sports clubs, putting to shame those available in St Albans.

Look at the other surrounding towns that boast facilities we can only be envious of - Hemel, Potters Bar, Hatfield, Borehamwood, Harpenden, Enfield. Its time this city just got on with it and built a facility we can be proud of and will benefit all sections of the community.

TIM SMITH

Westfields, St Albans

SIR - I would like to take issue with Roma Mills' letter criticising the proposals for a replacement swimming pool at Westminster Lodge.

We finally have firmed up plans for a regulation 25m pool, together with wider facilities for other sports. Money is not unlimited and, therefore, comprimises have been made.

The new facilities will not be any more visible than the existing pool, which will be removed and landscaped, so the Green Belt arguments are another red herring.

Please can people just stop carping about the detail and let the council get on with building a 21st century facility for St Albans. The tired old pool we have at the moment is expensive to run and won't last forever!

BILL FREE

Hill Street, St Albans

SIR - At last, Westminster Lodge is going to be replaced. Hurrah!

After nearly 20 years of proscrastinating, I really couldn't believe Labour candidate Rona Mills' opposition to the plan.

Instead of the dilapidated flumes, we will have a fantastic swmming pool and a learner pool. Rather than a cramped machine room we wil have a modern gym. We might not have a diving facility but the boards at Westminster Lodge have been closed for years. Now we get a climbing wall, badminton courts, a sports hall and spa. It may be in the Green Belt, but the new centre will take no more land than the old one, and there will be over 150 new trees planted. You will never please everyone but at last we will have the modern sports centre that we deserve.

So come on St Albans, don't allow the political point scoring to delay it any longer. Lets supoprt the plan and say to our politicians, after 20 years debating, just get on with it !

DUNCAN BEARD

Detany Court, St Albans

SIR - Wonderful to see the new design for Westminster Lodge has badminton courts.

For too long we have had to battle through the nightly traffic to Hatfield to find a facility to play our chosen sport. Who knows, the next Gail Emms could be a regular in our local!

MEMBERS OF THE WHITE HART TAP BADMINTON SOCIETY

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