Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham, secured and held an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on “Cultural Centres and Sporting Facilities in North West Durham” last night.
Many constituents have contacted Richard about sporting facilities and cultural centres before the pandemic, and the lack of local support from Durham County Council (DCC) locally. Furthermore, Richard has worked with many throughout the pandemic as North West Durham has seen its cultural and sporting facilities take a real hit during the crisis.
In his speech, Richard highlighted:
- Consett Swimming Pool and Leisure Centre, closed since before the pandemic due to defects including poor electrical fittings and leaks, despite it being just 5 years old. Richard criticised poor tendering, poor construction and lack of oversight of the project. In the ‘Leisure Transformation plan’ there is nothing bar ‘refreshing the offer’ for either Consett or Wolsingham leisure centres, DCC’s only two centres in North West Durham. Richard has previously written to Durham County Council about the ongoing closure of Consett Swimming Pool and Leisure Centre which you can read about here.
- Crook Swimming Pool, which closed in 2011 and was demolished in 2012. The town isn’t even mentioned in the 38 page executive summary presented to the Council about ‘Leisure Transformation’ and the £63 million the council is spending county-wide.
- Richard also mentioned: Durham Dales Hockey Club have been struggling to find a pitch and Consett Rugby Club as well as local football clubs in Tow Law, Crook, Consett and Willington also faced closures and raised concerns to Richard about their futures. Richard has written to the Minister for Sport about local football clubs and you can read more about this here.
Speaking in the adjournment debate, Richard said “no new services and no new facilities” are being given to North West Durham in Labour run Durham County Council’s £63 million ‘Leisure Plan’, which you can read about here. He also pointed out that people in North West Durham “feel left behind” and stated he will be working with sporting facilities and cultural facilities across North West Durham to ensure that they are all able to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.
Richard’s adjournment debate coincides with the release of a survey on local leisure and cultural facilities on his website, some comments from which he mentioned in his speech in Parliament.
Commenting, Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham, said:
“This is an incredibly important topic for local people. My constituents are fed up of being ignored by Council that Labour have run as their own fiefdom from over 100 years and just want a reasonable cut of the cake when it comes to local leisure facilities.
“As I said in the debate today, aside from the pandemic, North West Durham’s leisure and cultural sector was thriving due to the efforts of local people. I will continue to work with all sporting clubs and my constituents in North West Durham to ensure that we all have access to these precious institutions going forward. But to ensure we can address some of the real physical and health needs locally, the council desperately need to step up and deliver for my constituents, particularly in Crook, that’s felt abandoned by them for too long.”
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