Socialist Worker

Protests pile pressure on Blackburn coalition

Issue No. 2215

A campaign to save a leisure centre has led to turmoil in Blackburn & Darwen council in Lancashire—and threatens to bring down the ruling coalition on the council.

Campaigners have organised protests against the closure of the Shadsworth Leisure Centre and other community centres as the Tory-led council pushed through cuts, as reported in Socialist Worker.

An executive board meeting of the council on Thursday of last week reflected the pressure by agreeing to keep the leisure centre open on weekday evenings.

But it said that the swimming pool was still going to be shut.

Two members of the local For Darwen party, which was part of the governing coalition, then left the administration—raising the possibility that the leisure centre may be saved entirely.

Celia Allen helped set up the Save Shadsworth Leisure Centre campaign.

She told Socialist Worker, “Our campaign put the council under a lot of pressure—so they wanted to have a compromise by keeping some of the facilities open.

“Now the two councillors have got cold feet and resigned from the coalition.”

Labour could now possibly form the ruling coalition, ousting the Tories.

Labour councilors have been involved in the campaign and are promising to reverse the closure of the leisure centre if they come to power.

“I hope they keep their promise to keep the pool open,” says Celia.

“But it we hadn’t campaigned they would have just made these cuts. You can fight for what you believe in and change decisions.”

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Tue 17 Aug 2010, 18:05 BST
Issue No. 2215
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