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Town’s multi-service centre wins approval

    By Andrea Kirk  

HORNSEA Leisure Centre will be extended and refurbished after the plans were approved by East Riding Council eastern area planning sub-committee on Monday.

“Hornsea residents deserve a good leisure centre and visitors to the town expect a good leisure centre” said Councillor Barbara Jefferson as she moved a motion supported by fellow councillors to approve plans.

The leisure centre on Broadway will now be expanded to home the library, customer service and social services buildings creating a multi-service centre. It will also see a café opening onto the promenade area following the demolition of the buildings to the east.

Speaking to the planning committee members as a ward councillor Cllr John Whittle summed up the application’s effect on the town, having split opinion creating Facebook fury and a town councillor resignation.

“Unusually however, the majority of arguments are in favour of the development,” he said, adding: “I am impressed by the design and scale of the application and I’m sure it will become a valued part of the Hornsea environment.”

He discussed Hornsea Town Council’s concerns - it voted against the application due to access of the elderly and infirm. He talked about how the East Riding’s coastal engineer was unconvinced a wave overtopping flood risk won’t be an issue, and asked the committee to consider a site visit before deciding.

A member of the public, Mrs Oliver, also expressed her concerns in her threeminute opportunity to speak.

“I would contend that the cost savingof integrating services into one building is the overriding driver for this proposal and not to enhance facilities for locals or visitors,” she said. Without an improved pool and a visitor centre the planned centre, including a café without a sea view, will not increase the tourist offer, she argued.

Mrs Oliver also drew attention to the new centre being modelled and compared to Haltemprice. She suggested a seaside resort such as Bridlington would have been a more appropriate model where the library and customer service centre have been retained as separate entities and said she believed this sets a precedent in terms of redevelopment of seaside towns.

Cllr Barbara Jefferson, a ward councillor on the planning committee and a Hornsea town councillor assured the committee she and her fellow ward councillor John Whittle had listened to Hornsea residents’ views.

“Because of sitting on this committee I’ve not passed any comment either for or against, before this meeting today. It’s been very difficult for me as a long-term resident of Hornsea but that’s the rules and it’s put me in a very uncomfortable position. Some of the comments have been very hurtful, because I couldn’t make up my mind.

“I believe the officers at County Hall have tried very hard to fit everything into the leisure centre and my way of saying it is, ‘a quart into a pint pot.’”

She would have liked more public toilets in the plans and said although families would like a pool akin to Bridlington’s she’d been told not enough money is available for Hornsea to have that.

“I don’t want to hold up this application, as we are all aware Hornsea Leisure Centre needs a facelift. After 25 years it’s more popular than we ever expected, and I was chairman of the committee that had it built. If today this leisure centre was not passed I’m not sure I could walk down Hornsea and be able to hold my head up high. I therefore am going to move with great trepidation that the application be approved.”

The committee voted to support the application, meaning detailed design work can be progressed.

Speaking afterwards, local resident Tim Bunch said: “This is a good thing for Hornsea although I would have liked to have seen some shallow play introduced to the pool area.”

Meanwhile, work to improve the South Promenade boat compounds will start next Monday, June 18, by Hobson and Porter Ltd on behalf of the council. Work to expand each of the compounds, provide dedicated parking for users, improved security and boat servicing and wash down facilities will be phased to keep the commercial fishery and leisure use fully operational. Hornsea Inshore Rescue will also remain able to launch throughout the construction period. The South Promenade development includes a pay and display car park and picnic area to the west of the boat compound. Work is expected to take about 12 months to complete at a cost of £3.25 million.

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