ONLINE POLL : Meden centre wins a stay of execution

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WARSOP’S Meden Sports Centre has won a last-minute reprieve after council chiefs agreed a range of measures to tackle a budget black hole of £3.08m.

Mansfield District Council has seen the amount of money it receives from Government grants shrink by 13.8 per cent this year.

And Civic Centre leaders admitted setting their budget was a ‘traumatic’ process as the final proposals were outlined to the authority’s cabinet on Thursday.

They included cuts to the budget for Mansfield Museum and the Palace Theatre, charges for the collection of brown bins and cemetery burials and a reduction in overtime payouts for staff.

The budget was also expected to confirm the closure of both the swimming pool and dry sports facilities at Meden – but Mansfield mayor Tony Egginton revealed cash would be found to keep it open until the summer.

It is hoped this will give local campaigners time to find new funding and partnerships to help run the facility.

“Although closing Meden Sports Centre was reluctantly part of our initial proposals, I was determined that if there was any way possible we could save it, then we should,” Mr Egginton said.

The authority proposes to freeze Council Tax, allowing it to be rewarded with a grant from central Government. This money will be used to fund the sports centre’s stay of execution.

District and parish councillor for Warsop John Kerr described the move as the ‘correct decision’.

“Why should the people who live in the parish of Warsop not enjoy the same facilities as those who have Water Meadows and the Rebecca Adlington Swimming Centre,” he said.

Coun Kerr also thanked members of the Save our Swimming (SOS) group for their efforts to keep the centre open.

The SOS group will be meeting tonight to discuss the plans but declined to comment in the meantime.

After Thursday’s meeting Coun Roger Sutcliffe, portfolio holder for resources, who put together the budget with council officers, said the proposals were ‘a good news story’ when compared to most other authorities in the country.

“Very few other districts are in as good a position as we are,” he said. “This is because we have been prudent over the last eight years. It should be a morale booster that redundancies will be so few and we believe the impact on services will be minimal.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Phil Smith, portfolio holder for corporate issues, agreed.

“How many councils around the country are making hundreds of people redundant and slashing services?” he said. “This budget does not do that.”

The budget will now go forward for the agreement of the full council on 26th January.

We want to know: do you agree with the decision to save Meden Vale at Warsop? Tell us using the poll to the right.