Councillors across Willenhall are united on one thing; none of us want to see Willenhall lose its leisure centre, but Walsall’s Tory Cabinet does and it’s how we change its mind that we need to decide, and when I say we I mean all of us, the community that is Willenhall. That message came across loud and clear at last night’s Public Meeting on the future of the Leisure Centre.
The cost of running Willenhall Leisure Centre is probably no more than the cost of running other leisure centres across the Borough of Walsall. The problem we’ve got is that fewer people use Willenhall. This puts the unit cost up to around £4 per person at Willenhall as opposed to around £2 per person using other centres. Putting that into context, the cost per person using Walsall’s Art Gallery is around £6.
As usual the Tories know the price of everything and the value of nothing. That’s what we in Willenhall are up against. Can you imagine what the state of our services would be if they were to win the General Election? Walsall’s Tory leader has already eluded to the possibility of massive job cuts in the coming years.
On a positive note, the numbers using the centre continue to rise. There is a short term plan, which if agreed, will reduce the need for subsidy to levels equal to that of other centres across the Borough. And a good many ideas were put forward to increase usage which need to be given further consideration.
A further meeting between Willenhall’s nine councillors and the Friends Group is being arranged. It was planned to go ahead on the 18th March through Willenhall’s Regeneration Project Reference Group, but there appears to be a dispute with the Council as to whether this is a regeneration issue. Either way a meeting will be arranged and a proposal will be ready for the April deadline set by Walsall Tories.