Council urged to act on leisure

PUBLISHED: 12:30 24 August 2006 | UPDATED: 14:47 12 May 2010

A WORKING group s report is urging East Herts District Council to develop a long-term leisure strategy. The group has spent more than 12 months looking into the council s role on leisure after an Audit Commission report said sport and leisure was not one

A WORKING group's report is urging East Herts District Council to develop a long-term leisure strategy.

The group has spent more than 12 months looking into the council's role on leisure after an Audit Commission report said "sport and leisure was not one of the council's corporate priorities".

In its recommendations the working party said a proposed sports and leisure strategy had to take a wide-ranging view of the council's role.

It suggested that there were opportunities to develop partnerships which would promote public health and well-being.

A "crucial component" of a long-term strategy would be to look at the future of the council's leisure facilities.

One area which could be examined is the current arrangements for joint use of the 25-metre swimming pool at Freman College in Buntingford.

The working group's report says "evidence suggests that swimming is in decline as a participative sport".

The pool at Freman College was constructed more than 30 years ago, and is the subject to a 60-year agreement between the district council and the county council.

The district council, however, is responsible for 60 per cent of the running cost of the pool

A detailed market research exercise is urged into the demand for casual swimming, swimming lessons and club swimming.

The report claims, too, that East Herts "does little in comparison with other councils to support and develop sport".

The report, however, points out that in the early 1970s the "leisure industry" had not been invented, and it was the role then of the public sector to provide facilities.

"The significant changes that have taken place over the past 30 years calls for a new approach.

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