Kidsgrove Sports Centre

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:04 pm on 9th June 2020.

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Photo of Jonathan Gullis Jonathan Gullis Conservative, Stoke-on-Trent North 7:04 pm, 9th June 2020

I do not think any Member can have an Adjournment debate without the honour of being intervened on by the hon. Gentleman. I completely agree with him. He tirelessly champions his work on obesity. If we do not tackle this issue, there will be health implications and pressures on our NHS, as well as the mental health aspects. We also need to be aware of the bad education that leads on for generations. I completely agree with the hon. Gentleman that we need community-led, community-run sports clubs that are funded partly by central Government and partly from elsewhere to best serve our constituents.

To restore the heart of Kidsgrove, the project must secure funding for the sports centre to be renovated and modernised to meet the highest health and safety standards, as well as current and future leisure needs. The cost of renovation is significantly lower than that of a rebuild. I endorse unreservedly the expansion of sports provisions, but I cannot say that, when the Jubilee 2 centre was built at a high cost to taxpayers across the county, I did not understand the annoyance and frustration of the residents of Kidsgrove. It should now be Kidsgrove’s turn to see investment.

The cost of a fully functional renovation has been projected to be £5.5 million, and the council has already committed £3.1 million towards the project. However, we are all aware of the cost of covid-19 for local councils, and Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council is no different. Government funding of £1.3 million has been secured, and that has reduced the immediate pressure on council finances, but that sum is sufficient only to cover the council’s lost income and additional costs for the first three months of the year. The council will be required to draw down all of its revenue reserves, in addition to taking action to restrict all non-essential expenditure, at a time when our communities are looking to the council to lead our local recovery efforts.