Task group will draw on “uniquely placed” elected members to help create long-term replacement for Friary Grange Leisure Centre
The role of councillors in developing a new leisure centre in Lichfield is a “critical success factor”, a new report has claimed.
Lichfield District Council is putting together plans to secure a long-term facility in the city following an 11th hour U-Turn over the planned closure of Friary Grange Leisure Centre.
The local authority had earmarked the site for closure in April before a public campaign saw the council reverse the decision.
However, the long-term future of the site remains far from secure and a meeting of the council’s leisure overview and scrutiny committee next week will hear about plans to create a new task group to help direct the development of a new facility.
A report from Cllr Elizabeth Little, cabinet member for leisure, said the input of elected members would add “huge value” to the project.
“Elected member involvement throughout this process is considered a critical success factor.
“Members, as the elected representatives of our residents, are uniquely placed to understand and articulate resident need.
“Members also have the understanding and perspective to add huge value to the project in terms of support, guidance and, where necessary, challenge.”Cllr Elizabeth Little, Lichfield District Council
The new task group will focus on the development of a new facility, while other aspects of the overall project will ensure that the existing facilities can continue to operate in the short term.
Cllr Little added:
“The new Lichfield Leisure Centre task group’s remit will be exclusively be this project – the new leisure centre.
“The group will have no specific mandate with regards to other parts of the project. This reflects both the need to focus effort on this and also that the ability to meaningfully shape the other parts is considered very limited.”Cllr Elizabeth Little, Lichfield District Council
The new group will be made up of a cross-party group of councillors, including Conservative Cllr Jamie Checkland, who stood down as a governor of The Friary School after criticism over his position in the wake of the initial plan to shut Friary Grange Leisure Centre.
Others on the group include Lib Dem Cllr Paul Ray, Labour’s Cllr Sharon Banevicius, independent member Cllr Joanne Grange and Conservatives Cllr Deborah Baker and Cllr Janie Silvester Hall.
A document outlining the role of the group says the objective is “to have a much closer overview of the new build project as it progresses”.
The creation of the new task group will be discussed at the meeting on 3rd March.