LEISURE: Timing could be crucial

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The article concerning the planned demolition of the Lindisfarne Sports Hall, with loss of associated outdoor facilities, makes interesting reading, (Northumberland Gazette, April 20).

Statements justifying the total clearance of the site have been issued, yet the county council now tells us that proper plans have not yet been submitted.

Most users of the facility were unaware of the impending destruction, despite claims from county level that efforts were being made to find alternative venues for them.

If there was a consultation exercise, it apparently failed not only to establish who would be affected, but also to establish what alternative requirements would need to be put in place.

Indeed, the county council seems to have forgotten about the issue when planning the next round of adult learning courses that are still scheduled to use the facility. If council employees don’t know about it, the word “plan” seems somewhat out of place.

Criticism has also been aimed at the petition that was started in order to raise awareness of the closure, one assertion being that it was premature.

Given the closure of Lindisfarne in July, and with groups now being told that the Sports Hall will not be available from that point on, one has to wonder at the criticism.

If alternative facilities are not available, that only leaves a few months in which to find them before services will be curtailed or organisations are forced to disband. In the Junior Harriers’ case there does not yet appear to be any suitable alternative venues. Some people do need to plan ahead.

Timing is certainly an issue, and for several reasons.

All of this comes at very short-notice, just before press debate involving anything political has to stop, while the Neighbourhood Plan has yet to pass referendum stage.

I do hope that the necessary provisions are found to house those who need them and that Alnwick Town Council is able to make sure that it happens.

The people of Alnwick deserve to be put before the interests of any developers.

Unfortunately, the same people also voted to maintain Alnwick District Council in the belief that democracy and truly local Government were worthwhile. The resulting unitary situation is not a good omen.

Perhaps the county council has a secret plan to build Alnwick some lovely new facilities that we don’t yet know about. If so, I do hope that they are going to be ready in time.

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