Velodrome is dead, long live Downpatrick leisure Centre – January 2011

Need to focus on New Downpatrick Leisure Centre

Cllr Cadogan Enright calls for new Leisure centre to kept in Downpatrick Centre

Cllr Cadogan Enright has called on local political representatives to “stop hankering after the Velodrome, get real , and concentrate on going back to the original plan to upgrade the Downpatrick leisure centre, before our ability to delver it is impeded by cut-backs”.

“Politicians in other political parties are still ‘tilting at windmills’ by trying to fight the announcement that the Velodrome Proposal is not going ahead. It was a lucky break for the ratepayers in Down District that the “comprehensive spending review” cancelled the Velodrome. “ Said Cllr Cadogan Enright.

Cllr Cadogan Enright said, “Even though the building would have been part funded by Sport NI the running costs would have to be funded locally. The Velodrome was supposed to ‘double-up’ as the new Downpatrick Leisure Centre, but the proposed site was 5 kilometers from the centre of the town on theBelfast Road. The entire business case was very questionable and it was looking like a ‘white elephant’.”

Cllr Enright condemned the department for enticing the council to waste of £50,000 ratepayers money, on the grounds that the funds for this project were ‘ring-fenced’. “While we should seek to recover these funds, we must remember the huge waste of valuable Council management time that has been lost, that could have delivered the new leisure centre by now.”

“It was essentially the wrong project in the wrong site and would not have been as be accessible as the existing Downpatrick Leisure Centre inDunleathPark. The delays associated with merging the new Downpatrick Leisure centre project with the Velodrome has essentially ensured that we no don’t have a new Leisure centre in Downpatrick and we are back to square one, looking for a site,” Said Cllr Enright.

“The obvious question remains why we are not choosing the existing site given its central location, convenience to local people and access to public transport. Given the Councils suggestion in its recently published ‘Masterplan’ of extensive zoning for Development on the swampland around the existing Leisure Centre in Dunleath Park, they can hardly say the ground is not good enough My predecessors Raymond Blayney and Bill Corry both campaigned for this site to be retained as the best and most central one for the people of the area given its proximity to public transport,” Concluded Councilor Cadogan Enright