U-turn on leisure centre axe ‘could cost council £1m’

OFFICIALS claim they cannot back down on controversial plans to demolish a leisure centre bought with more than £1m taxpayers’ money – because it could cost them another £1m.

The Milburn Leisure Centre has been home to the Hull and District Indoor Bowling Club for more than two decades.

The one acre site it occupies and car park was acquired by Hull Council for £1.15m four years ago, and now looks set to be demolished within weeks to make way for Gateway’s Amy Johnson housing project.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Government inspectors ruled last year that the centre, which boasts six international bowling rinks and four function rooms and bars, was an “important recreational and social resource for the local community” and including the site in the plans was not justified.

A petition from those campaigning to keep the centre open is due to be discussed by a meeting of the Lib Dem Cabinet next week.

However, a report says Hull Council could be sued for breach of contract if they fail to deliver a cleared site to the developers Keepmoat by the end of next month and they would have to pick up all the costs of a redesign. They claim the eventual tab could top £1m.

However former owner John Milburn, 77, said the move would spell the end of the bowling club. “I just think it is scandalous. As far as we know they can’t build on this land.

“There are 300 people or more who will have a life change for nothing. Most towns have council-owned international bowling rinks and Hull has been in the top 16 for years.

“They found a place for the bowlers and asked them to do £460,000 worth of work on a rented building.

“This building is 44,000 sq ft and they want 300sq ft and planning has said they can do without it. There’s that much land round here.

“All it required was for them to get round the table – it just devils belief.”