Thursday, 5 January 2012

Leigh Community Centre - Lib Dem spin

Having tried to launch a constructive, open and early debate on the options available in Elm Road I was surprised to see the public stance adopted by Leigh & West Leigh Libs which bears no relation to their earlier comments to me. I have tried to raise the issue with Cllrs Crystal and Wexham - I am still waiting for a response. Here is my pre Xmas e mail to them. The silence of their response is deafening!

I am writing to express my extreme disappointment and indeed annoyance at your latest edition of “Leigh West Leigh Focus” which includes the banner heading “Save Leigh from the bulldozers” followed by a selective quote from my recent Leigh Times article and a covering comment that can best be described as misleading.

I have previously attended 1:1 meetings with both Alan and Peter on this issue (at your respective requests) during which I believed that you had accepted that no plans currently existed for the site but that with the inevitability of buildings becoming vacant or underused there had to be a full and adult discussion involving the community as to what the future of the site should be. We all accepted that this would be the last opportunity in the foreseeable future to control a significant site in the heart of Leigh and to see if it could help to address some of the ongoing challenges the area faces.

I accepted that Alan was keen to retain the Community Centre but was relatively unconcerned about the current police station whereas Peter felt that the police station could be retained for potential occupation by Leigh Town Council and with a new community centre behind, but had no desire to retain the existing Community Centre building.

We agreed that we needed to avoid turning the issue into a party political argument with unnecessary scaremongering. We also agreed that we needed to indicate that we retained an open mind to encourage others to do likewise to facilitate a proper and open debate. I confirmed I was willing to involve you both and Barry in the discussions from the outset together with various other stakeholders.

It was my understanding that we had reached agreement on a constructive way forward and I would therefore welcome an explanation as to why you have now allowed a leaflet to be distributed which wholly undermines our discussions and agreed approach. It is particularly ironic that Alan is pictured directly in front of Leigh Police Station and is quoted as referring to “handsome and irreplaceable” buildings notwithstanding his comment to me that this particular building had little architectural merit and should not be retained.

Why do you expect me to be open, transparent and inclusive on the issue if you are not?

I await your response with interest.”

Oh well - perhaps next time!

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