The site of the Cascades leisure centre in Portadown will be sold off for housing to help subsidise new facilities in Craigavon and Armagh, it has been claimed.
And Portadown town centre will suffer as a result of the deision to approve the new £30 million leisure centre in Craigavon, according to UKIP.
The development – to be known as the South Lake Leisure Centre – is due to open in 2020.
Armagh I revealed on Wednesday morning that an opinion to approve the plans – which will see the demolition of the Craigavon Watersports Centre to make way for a state-of-the-art venue.
It will include a 50m pool, among other things, and replace the Watersports Centre and Cascades in Portadown and Waves in Lurgan.
But one local councillor has said it will cause great damage to Portadown by taking people away from the town centre.
UKIP – which has one representative, councillor David Jones, sitting on Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council – said they were “very disappointed” but not surprised to learn it was to go ahead.
The party said in a statement: “We have consistently expressed our opposition to this move as it will mean the loss of these facilities in both Portadown and Lurgan, two towns that have higher populations than Armagh and Banbridge with leisure centres.
“For those who believe the hype presented by the council the new centre will not be as big as at first thought.
“The monies used to build the centre could have been used to rebuild and bring up to standard the existing leisure centres which for years have been purposefully neglected by Craigavon and latterly ABC Council.
“Although the original decision to build a new leisure centre was made by Craigavon Borough Council we believe the new council did not exercise due diligence on this issue on coming into being and blindly followed on a previous decision which has become flawed.
“Portadown ratepayers will continue to pay the same level of rates as Armagh and Banbridge.
“To add insult to injury the plan is to sell off for housing the present leisure centre site in Portadown.
“In effect Portadown residents will be subsidising other leisure centre refurbishments such as the work planned for Armagh leisure centre.”
UKIP said while Councillor Jones was “working with others to try and improve Portadown town centre and bring in more trade and foot fall the council aided by some local councillors is taking away amenities valuable to local residents. We do not think that is fair”.
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