Column: So proud to be able to say I have achieved both my ambitions for our area

When I was elected to Ashfield District Council in 1999, I had two ambitions: one to stop the landfill at Bentinck Void and the other to build a new swimming pool in Kirkby, writes Coun Rachel Madden.

By Coun Rachel Madden
Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 6:00 am

It has taken me 23 years but in September I can finally and proudly say I’ve done both.

In 1935, the Labour Party promised the people of Kirkby a new swimming pool. They promised it multiple times. It became a big joke: at election after election it was promised.

It never happened until we in the Ashfield Independents made it happen.

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Coun Rachel Madden, Ashfield District Council’s executive lead member for leisure, health and wellbeing.

When the Ashfield Independents took control of the council in 2019, the first thing that council leader Jason Zadrozny said to me was: “Right - Rachel - now for the swimming pool in Kirkby.”

In fact, we are delivering two pools that open in Kirkby in September.

It’s just like waiting for bus outside my house near the Badger Box. You wait for time immemorial for one and then two come along at once.

I’ve got to be honest - up until 18 months ago, I’d never worn a hard hat in my life. Over the last 18 months, I have been a constant visitor.

Councillors Rachel Madden, Arnie Hankin and Jason Zadrozny, pictured with council chief executive Theresa Hodkinson, checking on the progress at the new leisure centre.

We’ve invested £15.7million in a brand new leisure centre right in the middle of Kirkby.

It will encompass a 25-metre pool with flexible floor and separate leisure pool, sports hall which can transform into a cinema, health and fitness suite with a full gym, two multi-activity studios, group cycling studio and much more.

People always ask me why I got involved in politics – winning the fight against Europe’s biggest landfill site at Bentinck Void and the new Kirkby Leisure Centre are why I got involved in politics.I am so proud that, under the leadership of Coun Jason Zadrozny, Ashfield District Council has delivered on Labour’s broken promise.

This will benefit residents in our district for generations to come. I couldn’t be prouder.

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