A council meeting on major plans to build a new multi-million pound leisure centre in Amersham is due to be held in private this week – a move which has been slammed by campaigners.

The Chiltern Lifestyle Centre Scrutiny Sub-Committee was set up to examine proposals to build a new £30 million leisure centre in King George V Road, in a bid to “provide an extra level of transparency for residents”.

The first meeting held at the Chiltern District Council offices in February was open to both the press and public to attend – however the majority of the next meeting, due to take place on Thursday, will be held in private.

An update on the project’s business case, refurbishment options for the current Chiltern Pools in King George V Road and a “review” of leisure centres in Chesham and Chalfont are all up for discussion.

However, according to council papers, any members of the press and public have been banned from these discussions as it could lead to “the likely disclosure of exempt information” that relates to “the financial or business affairs of any particular persons”.

Amersham resident, Patrick Carroll, questioned why the public is being excluded from debates on issues that are “fundamental to the whole project”.

He said: “Why are the public being excluded from the most important discussion to be held by this committee, about how taxpayers’ money is to be spent on the biggest public sector project ever to be brought before the CDC planning committee?

“In the interests of open democratic government, the public and press should be at this meeting, to hear just how their council is planning to overcome the serious failures of the current proposals.

“Specifically, the update on the business case has to explain just how the funding is to be guaranteed, whether it was always the case that the existing buildings could be economically refurbished and whether the proposed ‘hub’ leisure centre would simply rob customers and income from Chalfont and Chesham leisure centres.”

The new Chiltern Lifestyle Centre would replace Amersham’s “outdated” Chiltern Pools, with plans including a gym, swimming pool, library, community centre and nursery.

The CDC plans were deferred by the planning committee in February after councillors raised concerns over parking and the design of the development.

Spokesman for CDC, Rachel Prance, said that if the meeting papers were published then “the live procurement exercise for the main leisure centre operator could potentially be impacted”.

She said: “Whilst acknowledged that this issue is one of particular interest to residents, the live procurement exercise for the main leisure operator contract could potentially be impacted if the reports were to be made publicly available at this stage.

“The minutes will be published post meeting and will cover the points discussed during these items, although any commercially sensitive information will be omitted for the reason outlined above.

“In addition, when the final business case is considered by the cabinet later this year, the report will be publicly available.”