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  • Writer's pictureCarolineShah

Commercial venture to replace Kingston's community leisure centre despite council claims

Kingston Council is robbing the community of valuable leisure facilities - for profit

You can see pictures of The Kingfisher Leisure Centre at its heyday on FilmFixer's website. I am not allowed to share the pictures because, ironically, they were taken for Kingston Council when they valued The Kingfisher and its setting so much in those days that they used to rent it out as a location in Films

But now Kingston Council has decided that The Kingfisher "detracts" from the Conservation Area and should be demolished. Next week, Kingston Council will take the first hammer to the centre to commence its destruction

The Kingfisher Leisure Centre was amazingly well designed to sit unobtrusively in the heart of green open space in the Fairfield/ Knights Park Conservation Area in the middle of Kingston Town, providing a range of affordable, family-friendly activities to residents from across the borough

The council plan to replace The Kingfisher with a 6 storey monlithic building that will cut The Fairfield/ Knights Park Conservation Area off from its wider open aspect towards The Old London Road, having a significant impact on the setting of the Conservation Area

But - even worse - despite all its protestations of the new centre being built for the community, the council has chosen to run it on a commercial basis

So the mock-engagement process in which the council asked us what facilities we would like to see in a new centre was a sham

We have been tricked

The council has even admitted that the terms of the tendering contract in to which it intends to enter for the management of ALL its leisure facilities across the borough will threaten community access and affordability

This is a scandal and a scandal that we cannot now stop

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