Clear progress has been made on issues over access to Littleport’s proposed new £34 million secondary school and leisure centre.
A meeting held at the current leisure centre yesterday (Thursday) saw representatives from the county, parish and district council as well as the sports and leisure trust and developers discuss an array of issues and reach some agreement.
I organised the meeting following earlier meetings and have been pushing for agreement to be reached on access to the proposed site and also over the ownership and management of the new leisure centre.
There had been stalemate over the various issues with each side refusing to back down on whether or not the preferred access was the best option.
Developers and the county council argue Camel Road, with Elmside as a secondary access, is the best route for traffic to the new school and leisure site, while the parish council has repeatedly argued in favour of an access being created off the A10.
However, yesterday’s meeting saw agreement that Camel Road could be used if some work to widen and improve was included in the scheme, which will also see a special needs school and eventually a third primary school built on the site.
Ownership and management of the new environmentally friendly leisure centre remains an issue with the parish council arguing they should be granted the lease and oversee the running of the centre.
While the existing Littleport Sports and Leisure Trust argue they should remain in charge and the new building should be leased to them.
A further stumbling block was the possibility that the Martin family, who gave the land for the current leisure centre, may exercise their rights and ask for the return of the land if it is used for car parking for the new school and leisure centre.
However, the family have said they are happy for the land to be used for car parking and turning for the new facilities as it still benefits residents and is still linked to leisure.
It was agreed at the end of the meeting that the county council would look at ways of improving Camel Road, and for negotiations between the county council with each of the parish council and the leisure trust to go-ahead to finally agree who should be responsible for the new leisure facilities.
This is a fantastic investment in our area and it is very encouraging that we are now making clear progress on issues that have so far proved a stumbling block. It is imperative that decisions are made as quickly as possible on those items that are still outstanding to ensure this scheme is not lost.