Major plans to build a new leisure centre in Amersham moved another step forward following a successful public consultation.
Over two months plans to replace the outdated Chiltern Pools in King George V Road with a new state-of-the-art facility, named the Chiltern Lifestyle Centre, have been showcased to residents across the district.
At a meeting of Chiltern District Council’s (CDC) cabinet (October 16), councillors were informed the consultation attracted 1,963 responses- 86 per cent of which were positive.
The proposals include a 25-metre pool, gym, café, community centre and library.
The councillors went on to back plans to move the development to the next stage – which includes refining the designs before they are officially submitted to the council to seek planning permission.
Deputy leader of CDC, Mike Stannard, hailed the support of council staff throughout the consultation, adding it is “the biggest project the council has undertaken”.
He said: “We have yet again gone way beyond our expectations and I think it shows the enthusiasm for this project that exists out in the community.
“Many thanks to the team who have put in so much time and effort to take the roadshow to various places, and to talk members of the community about what we are going to do.
“Of course not everybody is going to be supportive. I think about nine per cent of responses were negative in relation to specifics rather than the overall scheme.
“So I think 86 per cent is a good mandate.
“Good news, and really glad we can take this project forward. It will be subject to huge scrutiny, it is without question the biggest project this council has ever undertaken.”
Cllr Stannard added he hopes the new centre will encourage older people to exercise, which in turn would save the NHS vital funds.
Leader of CDC, Isobel Darby, assured councillors the major project is not being looked at “lightly”, and it is undergoing huge amounts of scrutiny as plans move on to the next stages.
The plans were backed by Amersham Swimming Club – which has been based at Chiltern Pools for 50 years – with members stating they are “extremely excited at the prospect of modern, new, state-of-the-art swimming and diving facilities”.
Another resident hailed the “incredible scheme”, adding: “I applaud Chiltern District Council for having the courage to do something like this in times of austerity”.
However concerns were raised the cost of the project “will take funds away from much-needed local services”.
What’s your view? Do you have any examples of what successful public consultations look like? Share your experience with The Consultation Movement at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Wednesday 17 October 2018 in the Bucks Free Press. The Consultation Movement cannot confirm the accuracy of this story or confirm that it presents a balanced view. If you feel this is inaccurate we would welcome your perspective and evidence that this is the case.