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Cllr labels district council "arrogant" over gym expansion plans
A DISTRICT council has been called "arrogant" after it ploughed ahead with a planning application before consulting landowners.
At Princes Risborough Town Council on Tuesday night Cllr Alan Turner said he was surprised at the way Wycombe District Council was progressing with the Risborough Springs development.
WDC has drawn up plans to make the fitness centre bigger in a £1.2million project but it has not consulted the town council who own the land which the extension would be built on.
To add to the town council's annoyance money earmarked for a community building in the town- £145,000 from S106 monies- has been ploughed into the project instead.
Councillors in the town were hoping the money could be used to update the community centre in Stratton Road, after an idea to build a new centre was scrapped.
Cllr Will Streule said: "I am absolutely outraged by this. I can't believe any authority can be so arrogant and discourteous not to consult with the town council on this."
He said he thinks the fitness centre is great and he would like to see it improve but said there has been no consultation with PRTC.
Cllr Streule added: "I can't help but feel we would be rail-roaded over.
"WDC are the applicants and they are determining if it is going ahead or not."
The S106 monies are given by developers when they build in towns to add to the town's facilities.
Cllr Turner said: "Although they know they were taking it- we didn't. We weren't told or consulted."
He said the expansion would compete with the community centre. Cllr Turner added: "The situation is getting farcical. They did not even consult with the neighbouring tenant- the community centre."
A meeting has been arranged with officers from WDC. Cllr Reg Orsler said: "It is ridiculous. They can put in an application and it can by approved but they can't build as it is not their land."
Spokesman for WDC, Sue Robinson, said the S106 funds were secured from the former Berryfield County First School development in 2007 to be used towards "the provision or improvement of community, leisure and/or sports facilities in Princes Risborough."
She said they were never allocated to a community building at Stratton Road but WDC were aware of the town council’s aspirations for a new civic centre, but because this idea did not get past the feasibility stage money was not allocated.
Mrs Robinson said the district council’s sports facility strategy identifies deficiencies in indoor sport provision in Princes Risborough and surveys and consultation saw strong support for increased facilities at Risborough Springs.
She added: "The Risborough Springs expansion plans were subsequently developed based on this input and a report was brought to the November 2012 Cabinet meeting adding the Risborough Springs project to the Council’s Major Projects Programme.
"The S106 funds are a vital part of the funding matrix for this project. Consultation was held last December to January on the allocation of S106 funds across the district and the Risborough Springs project was included within this."
Mrs Robinson added: "We are working to make Risborough Springs and all our sports and leisure facilities in the district as affordable and accessible as we can by offering the facilities people want to use at a price which is affordable."
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