Angela Smith, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge has called on Sheffield City Council not to close Stocksbridge Leisure Centre. Stocksbridge is in the remote rural north of Sheffield and local people will not have the same access to alternatives that others in Sheffield might.
So who is making the proposal to close Stocksbridge Leisure Centre? Well it turns out that the cabinet advisor for leisure on Sheffield City Council is Smith’s husband, one Cllr Steve Wilson.
Might this be a topic to discuss at home before troubling the press?
Amid this farce the people of Stocksbridge stand to lose their leisure centre. While Sheffield faces a tough spending settlement, and is also under fire for the proposal to close Don Valley Stadium, where Jessica Ennis does part of her outdoor training, the council continues to spend large amounts of money on trade union officials, Park Hill flats – a vanity brutalist housing project, consultants and office refurbishments.
Meanwhile there is a £10m cash injection of government money into sporting facilities in Sheffield as part of an initiative to develop a centre of excellence in sports and exercise medicine as part of the Olympic legacy. If successful this would be a model for the rest of the country. It is not clear whether this might offer some relief to Jessica Ennis or the people of Stocksbridge, but perhaps Cllr Wilson could issue a press release to himself calling for more joined up thinking.
* Joe Otten is a councillor in Sheffield, and Friday editor of Liberal Democrat Voice