Residents in Cheam were shocked and disappointed to read that Cheam Baths may be earmarked for closure by the LibDem Council as part of their leisure centre strategy. Instead, residents and schoolchildren who want to use the second most popular centre in the Borough will have to travel to Sutton or even out of Borough to Merton and Epsom.
At a recent Council meeting Graham Tope, LibDem spokesman for Leisure, justified the significant recent price hikes but refused to give a cast-iron guarantee that the centre would be retained. John Kennedy said in response that Lord Tope has gone from “the Cardinal Wolsey of the LibDems to the Gordon Brittas of Leisure in Sutton.”
Jonathan Pritchard, Conservative candidate for the upcoming Cheam By-election said afterwards “Local people want local leisure services, they don’t want to be forced to travel across the borough or to neighbouring boroughs. The threat looming over Cheam Baths will particularly impact on local residents, Cheam schools and the leisure centre staff. The Council needs to be up-front about this instead of claiming they simply don’t know.”
Cheam Leisure Centre has the second highest footfall of all the Leisure Centres in Sutton behind Westcroft. Both centres need a lot of money spending on them to bring them up to scratch but the LibDems seem to be heading for the nuclear option by replacing them with a single centre in the middle of Sutton town centre. The consultant’s report has been sat on a desk since December and any decision has been pushed ever further back to Easter. This could have a significant effect on Carshalton as well as Cheam.