Bid to open pools on bank hols defeated

NDET 11-5-12 MC 3'Exterior of Victoria Leisure Centre Ilkeston

NDET 11-5-12 MC 3'Exterior of Victoria Leisure Centre Ilkeston

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The row over opening leisure centres in the borough on bank holidays reared its head again at another rowdy council meeting this week.

Labour’s leisure spokesman Cllr Louis Booth has been battling the leading Tory group’s decision to close centres, including Victoria Park and Rutland Sports Park in Ilkeston, for years.

MDB090203a4'victoria park LC: Louis Booth outside Vitoria aprk LC, Ilkeston protesting about the no work being done.

MDB090203a4'victoria park LC: Louis Booth outside Vitoria aprk LC, Ilkeston protesting about the no work being done.

But the Conservatives maintain that there is not enough demand on bank holidays to make opening them worthwhile.

Cllr Booth proposed a motion on Thursday, that they re-open, stating that 50 per cent of children under 11 in Erewash cannot swim, causing a rise in childhood obesity – and even a rise in drowning deaths.

His son and fellow Labour councillor John Booth told the meeting that he watched 19 families arrive at one council leisure centre on the Easter bank holiday weekend.

“The kids faces –they were upset, they were expecting a day out with their parents,” he said. “Erewash has got lots of canals, plenty of lakes – kids could easily fall in any of those.”

Conservative Cllr Mary Hopkinson said in response that council leisure centres are open 357 days of the year.

And council leader Cllr Chris Corbett added: “I would like to remind all members that our excellent swimming pools are in fact 43 years old which does involve closing them from time to time for maintenance.

“If we didn’t close them on bank holidays perhaps we would have to close them on other days.

“Attendance on a bank holiday was always quite low – I have heard it said, ‘they have all gone to Skegness’.”

Cllr Booth senior’s motion was defeated 23 votes to 25.