Bishop's Cleeve needs new leisure centre more than Tewkesbury, claims Councillor Phil Taylor
CAMPAIGNERS say a new public swimming pool should be built in Bishop's Cleeve and not in Tewkesbury.
Phil Taylor, chairman of Bishop's Cleeve parish council's community engagement committee, is angry at plans to build a new leisure centre in Tewkesbury Borough Council's Gloucester Road grounds.
It would replace the town's aging Cascades.
But with plans to build 1,000 more homes in Bishop's Cleeve having just been approved, Mr Taylor said the need for a new public swimming pool in Cleeve was greater than in Tewkesbury.
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He said: "There is no God-given right for a facility for Tewkesbury borough to be located in Tewkesbury.
"Bishop's Cleeve can clearly demonstrate that its residents want a swimming pool. We're already as big as Tewkesbury. We're a growing community that is facing quite a challenge to maintain Bishop's Cleeve's cohesion."
Mr Taylor, who used to be deputy leader of the borough council, added that the authority might have other problems if it persisted with its plans to site the new centre within its grounds.
Those included, he believed, the need to ballot the people of Tewkesbury on the move as they had originally paid for Cascades to be built in the late 1960s.
Other factors were the lack of parking at the Gloucester Road site and the need to move an electricity sub-station there. He also felt English Heritage would be unlikely to approve building a leisure centre on land next to the historic 1471 Battle of Tewkesbury site.
The council's lead member for safer, stronger and healthier communities is Councillor Claire Wright (C, Tewkesbury Prior's Park).
She said: "We have listened to public feedback and it has been agreed that Tewkesbury town is the most appropriate location if a new leisure centre is to be built.
"The preferred site that has been chosen in Tewkesbury meets the needs of our current customers, is easily accessible and, importantly, is ideally located in relation to other leisure centres.
"As part of the new developments in Bishop's Cleeve, we have negotiated improvements for local sports and play facilities through planning contributions."
The council declined to comment on whether a public ballot would needed, saying that would be a matter for The Swimming Bath Trust, which owns Cascades, to consider.