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There was no ‘betrayal’ by the community council on the Jubilee Sports Centre

06 July, 2018

The swimming pool at the Jubilee Sports Centre

• MANY local people are angry as well as sad that the swimming pool at the Jubilee Sports Centre closed at the end of June, and is to be replaced by housing including an inappropriately tall block that will tower over Queen’s Park’s other buildings.

Julius Hogben is among the residents who fought hardest against this scheme, a campaign which included the presentation of bold alternatives, (Our sports centre’s to go for flats and town houses, June 29).

As a Third Avenue resident and regular user of the Jubilee, and as the former chair of Queen’s Park Community Council, I deeply regret both Westminster’s decision to redevelop the site and the fact that efforts to challenge this decision were unsuccessful.

But I reject Mr Hogben’s suggestion that the community council is in any way to blame for what happened, or “betrayed” Queen’s Park residents. Community councillors passed a resolution opposing the scheme in 2015 and awarded a grant to support the development of alternative proposals.

But there came a point when councillors including me, who are unpaid volunteers, made a judgment that our time and other resources could be put to more constructive uses than protesting against a decision that had already been taken and was not going to be reversed – for example by funding the Avenue’s youth centre, supporting a jobs service based in Queen’s Park Library, working with volunteers to reopen the wildlife area in Queen’s Park Gardens, and helping to set up a Harrow Road retailers’ group to work on the future of our high street.

My hope is that the disappointment felt by many people at losing the Jubilee, including former community councillors such as Mr Hogben, can be channelled into efforts to support and protect these other local amenities, the loss of which would also be damaging to our area.

SUSANNA RUSTIN
W10

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