Update on the Save Our Sports Centre Campaign
First, please let me say a huge thank you to all of you who signed the petition, spread the word and encouraged family, friends and work colleagues to support the campaign too. Thanks also to those of you who accompanied us to the Council Offices last month to present the petition to the Full Council – we were about 60 in number and coming out into the bitter cold to support us on the night was truly appreciated.
Our petition is, according to the Council, the largest petition in the Borough’s history. 4,000 signatures are needed to be able to present at Full Council and ours was the first ever to reach that level. The fact that we had a total of 10,170 signatures is staggering – and very humbling – and clearly demonstrates the incredible amount of support that exists for the Sports Centre, the Charitable Trust and all that we provide for our local communities.
At the Council meeting, we heard many words of support and recognition for what we do from every party represented. Labour and Liberal Democrats argued robustly for the Basing View development to be scrapped or at the very least reviewed in light of the evidence of its’ impact that is now available.
There was an opportunity to ask that the petition be put before the Community, Environment and Partnerships (CEP) Committee to be further scrutinised. A vote took place and this proposal was lost by one vote. However, the vote was made using a brand new electronic system not used before. A test at the beginning of the meeting appeared unsuccessful and a number of votes for Councillors present were not recorded. We have, therefore, challenged this in a recent letter to the Council’s Chief Executive, Mel Barrett.
We have received a reply from Mr Barrett advising us that the Cabinet Member for CEP, Councillor Simon Bound, will now make a written response to our petition. Once we have received this, we can make the decision whether to make a further formal request for the CEP Committee to debate the petition further. We have no defined timescale for this but will keep the pressure on as much as we can until this response is received.
Following the Council meeting, we gave interviews to BBC South and, just yesterday, That’s Hampshire TV. Both the Basingstoke Gazette and Breeze FM conducted interviews prior to the Council meeting. Whilst we wait for Councillor Bound’s formal response, we continue to meet with the Council to discuss how we manage the impact of the Basing View development (should it proceed) with support from the Council. We lodged an objection to the planning application for the development back in January and await a response from the Council on that matter too. Finally, we made a complaint to the Council’s auditors – Ernst and Young – and are chasing them via our Solicitors for an update.
As always, we’ll keep you up to date with key developments – until then, please accept my sincere thanks again for your ongoing support.
Very best wishes,
Basingstoke Sports Trust