COUNCIL bosses came under fire this week over the lack of parking at one of its new leisure centres.
Maltby environmental campaigner Alice Rodgers said that the layout at the town’s new leisure and health centre did not even include enough dedicated parking spaces for doctors and midwives, leaving them—and other centre users—having trouble finding somewhere to leave their cars.
“Thanks to the Rotherham Borough’s policy of using the Private Finance Initiative to increase the size but reduce the number of its leisure centres, Maltby now has a very large and apparently popular new gymnasium and pools complex,” she said.
“The site for this was found through the demolition of the previously existing health centre, council offices and pools, additional PFI monies being attracted to the borough by accommodating all their replacements under a single roof.
“Prior to this Maltby 'super-building,’ parking to reach any of these local services was easy but now it is terribly difficult to find a space.
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“Scandalously, even doctors and midwives no longer have access to reserved parking and Maltby’s lame now struggle to reach their GP surgeries.
“Cars overflow onto neighbouring roads and also take up spaces originally intended for shoppers.
“This, in turn, does harm to the economy of our town centre.”
Mrs Rodgers said that the situation had been made worse by the “landscaping out of existence” of spaces which used to be available in the service yard of the previous swimming pool.
“At the planning stage, Maltby people anticipated these parking problems and made appropriate representations but our masters in Rotherham did not listen,” she added.
“When will the borough learn to apply thought and practical common sense to projects like this in order to ensure that they become community assets instead of liabilities?”
Residents in Aston have also previously reported problems with the amount of parking available at the new council-run Aston Leisure Centre, forcing people going for a swim or to use the gym to park on busy Aughton Road.
A Rotherham Borough Council spokeswoman said: “The number of car parking spaces for the Maltby Leisure and Services Centre was approved as part of the overall planning application, and is within the council’s guidelines for a development of this nature and scale.
“The provision for parking is supported by the recommended travel plan which, given the location of the facility to public transport and local housing, seeks to encourage users to travel to the facility by means other than car.
“The new leisure centre was opened only a few months ago and usage of the car park and the impact of the travel will be monitored on a regular basis over the next three to six months.
“We have already identified potential additional funding that could provide a number of new spaces should the outcome of the monitoring process determine the need.”
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