Councillors clash over Mansfield leisure plans

Water Meadows, Mansfield
Water Meadows, Mansfield

A determined councillor has said he will still push to have a £200,000 soft play area opened at a Mansfield leisure centre, despite the plans being turned down by the council.

Mansfield District Council members voted against the plans to develop the area and cafe at Water Meadows Swimming and Fitness Complex on Bath Street, during the recent full council meeting.

Several Labour councillors spoke out against the idea, many claiming cash should be used until the full implications of what it will cost to re-open Meden Sport Centre.

The centre was closed suddenly last month because of fire-safety issues, and it could be months before it is fully re-opened.

But Coun Phil Shields, portfolio holder for the environment, who was not at the meeting, says repairs on Meden Sports Centre has no bearing on the Water Meadows plans, before claiming the vote was simply politically motivated.

He said: “We have got the money to do both.

“This is typical putting politics before people. God forbid we could do something good that gets in the way of politics.”

“I want this to happen.”

He said the leisure management company, Serco, who run the area’s leisure centres, would pay half of the costs for the improvements to Water Meadows, but Coun Martin Lee, leader of the Labour Group at the council commented: “Although this appeared a good idea, council were not able to hear from Coun Shields or question him as he wasn’t there (at the meeting) to argue his case.

“ We don’t know how much that (Meden Sports Centre) will cost, nor how much the council will have to pay as a result of the closure. Until those figures are known and we can be sure there are sufficient resources available to get Meden fully open, it is wrong to direct funds to the project at Water Meadows.”