Fight the Cuts to Leisure Services!

Against the backdrop of up to £120 million of cuts, Cardiff Council is threatening massive cuts to leisure services in the south of Cardiff. Channel View leisure centre could be demolished and be replaced by a school with - the council claims - limited access to leisure facilities for the public.

Along with another Socialist Party member, I attended an 'engagement' meeting where council officers presented a list of options for increasing school places provision in the affected areas of Grangetown and Butetown. One of the options being pushed was to use the site of the leisure centre, and the adjacent play centre which is also threatened with closure, for a new school. As we and others in the audience pointed out, there are plenty of sites in the area which could be used for this purpose which would not involve cutbacks to leisure services. If Channel View were to close, the whole of the area around Cardiff Bay would have not a single leisure centre remaining.

Even before the consultation period has started, the opening hours of the leisure centre have been cut back. Clearly, the real agenda of the council is to make cuts to the services available, because like other Labour-controlled councils, they are implementing every penny of the Con-Dem cuts austerity and are refusing to raise a finger in resistance. The council claim that the community could use the facilities in the school, but clearly those would not be available during school hours. And who can believe them anyway? When Splott Pool was recently closed on the other side of the city, a full leisure hub was promised in its place, and yet all the Splott community has been left with is the empty shell of a swimming pool and a hat-full of broken promises.

Channel View is a vital leisure facility and we cannot let it be victim to the cuts. Cardiff Against the Cuts, in which Socialist Party members play a leading role, will be holding a public meeting on September 15th to discuss what steps to take in the fight to defend the leisure centre. We are distributing posters and leaflets around Grangetown and Butetown to publicise this meeting, and almost every person we speak to is angry at the cutbacks and determined to protect what little leisure facilities we have. On September 20th, the Splott campaign is holding a march and protest against the pool closure, and if we can co-ordinate a similar response in Grangetown, it could send a powerful message to the council that the ordinary people of Cardiff will not stand for these vicious cuts, whilst at the same time millions of pounds of tax money are being spent on 'security' to wine and dine the NATO summit delegates.

Joe Fathallah, Cardiff East Socialist Party and Cardiff Against the Cuts activist

7:30pm on Monday September 15th
Cardiff Bus Sports and Social Club, Tudor Street, Riverside, Cardiff

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