CamdenNewJournal

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Sobell trampoline park: Why are politicians so unwilling to listen to us?

11 August, 2017

Sobell Leisure Centre, where plans for a trampoline park have sparked protests

• SOBELL customers and local residents are hugely disappointed that my letter (Concerns surrounding Sobell Centre are being totally ignored, July 28), sent in my capacity as Sobell customer representative, has not been responded to either by Islington Council executive or GLL/Better.

In the past week, MP Jeremy Corbyn has urged the council to fundamentally review the project and consult fully with the ever-growing numbers of residents and customers expressing discontent and anger at the absence of consultation (Corbyn urges Sobell Centre trampoline park rethink, August 4).

Several ward councillors have now indicated that they are also deeply concerned about the worth of this project and the lack of public consultation on a change of such magnitude with far-reaching implications.

Between April and July, the Sobell received just 39 comment cards expressing an interest in a trampoline-based recreation park/play area at the centre. Both the council and GLL have steadfastly refused to divulge any additional Islington-based evidence of interest in this project. Neither have they released nor shared any business case.

In the two months that the petition protesting at the absence of public engagement on this project has been active at www.change.org/p/petition-to-save-the-sobell-centre-sports-hall more than 1,100 residents and customers have signed this publicly-accessible petition.

The discontent voiced by Sobell customers and residents is an expression of their complete exasperation at being totally excluded from council discussions on how to improve the future standard and breadth of the community sports offer across the borough in a cost-effective way.

Why is the council executive and its managing agent so unwilling to receive and consider these views? In a borough that has been a mainstay of open democratic process, just what does it take for the council executive to listen to, and engage with, those who elect them?

BARRY HILL
Sobell customer representative

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