Westminster Council approves controversial £20m redevelopment of two sports centres in Queen Park
- Credit: Archant
Controversial plans for a £20 million redevelopment of two Queen’s Park sport centres have been given the green light by Westminster Council.
There were angry scenes yesterday evening as planning chiefs voted in favour of the proposals which will result in the demolition of the Moberly Sports Centre in Kilburn Lane, and the Jubilee in Caird Street.
The Moberly will be replaced with a new building boasting state of the art facilities, including two swimming pools and an eight court sports hall.
But critics are angry that the Jubilee site would see a reduction in size and the removal of the swimming pool in favour of an avant-garde centre and upgraded sporting facilities in the neighbouring park.
Campaigners have called for a pool to remain in Jubilee.
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Before the meeting started they staged a protest outside Westminster City Hall and have vowed to fight on by holding a demonstration outside the Jubilee site on Saturday.
As councillors voted in favour of the plans; only one member of the committee voted against, with one abstention, the campaigners shouted and heckled from the filled chamber.
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Julius Hogben, who has spearheaded the opposition campaign, lambasted the project, claiming residents want to keep the pool on the Jubilee site.
He said: “The disgraceful plans may have been passed by the council but the battle is by no means over.
“They steamrolled the plans through. The proposals are shameful and unwanted –the community wants and needs a swimming pool at the Jubilee centre.”
“We are doubling, tripling our efforts now – this is definitely not over,” Kate Liddle added.
The town hall approval came after Brent Council gave their backing for the revamp of the Moberly site, which is on the north side of Kilburn Lane and technically in Brent.
In July 2012, a petition calling for improved consultation on the impact that the planned closure of Jubilee Sports Centre got more than 5,000 signatures - the largest single petition ever generated in Queen’s Park.
Dubbing the cost of the new homes as “out-of-reach of most local people” Barrie Taylor, Queen’s Park Labour councillor, said; “We have continually stated that we are in support of improving the quality of local sports and leisure facilities, but this project will do the opposite”
She continued: “The closure of Jubilee is seen by local people as cutting the heart out of Queen’s Park. It was originally a replacement swimming and leisure facility for working people and its excellent reputation has continued to this day.”
The cost of the project will be funded by Westminster’s appointed development partner, Willmott Dixon, through the development of 155 new homes over both main sites, including 12 ‘affordable homes’ at the Jubilee site.
Richard Barker, Westminster Council’s director of sport and leisure, said: “This decision means that we can now build the new facilities which I hope will encourage more people in Queen’s Park to take up sporting activity, and help improve their health and their lives overall.”
Work will begin at Moberly this autumn and will be completed in 2016, before work begins on the new community facility at the Jubilee site, which will include a 3-court sports hall and flexible activity space.
The Jubilee Sports Centre will remain open whilst the Moberly site is being redeveloped.
Jenny Isaac, Brent Council’s operational director neighbourhood services, said: “We are very pleased that the new Moberly project has got the green light. It will provide fantastic, modern sports facilities, with a pool, which Brent residents will be able to use at affordable prices. “