Karen Allen

I fought South Shields at the May 2010 General Election for the Conservatives, gaining a 6.4% swing which was a 4% vote increase. The Conservatives polled 7,886 up from 5,207 in 2005. I was born in the North East and grew up in South Shields. I currently live in London and am employed as a Director at Lloyd's Broker Howden International.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A dry day to visit Temple Park Leisure Centre


Temple Park Centre is one of the largest and most popular leisure centres in South Tyneside, opened in the 1970s and extended in the 1980s, I remember very well as a child being taken to the newly extended centre and riding the waves of the new wave machine after shooting down the AquaBlaster slide. As a keen swimmer though it was Derby Street baths I went to every week.

I was fairly shocked at the deterioration of Temple Park. You'll see from the posted picture which was taken by Richard Jago, from the South Tyneside's Cultural Operations department, that me and Assistant, Michael, are literally surrounded by plastic pots to catch the rain coming through the roof. I was glad I visited during a dry spell, as apparently the roof leakages fill the pots pretty quickly and it can get very wet and slippy.

I was heartened to hear South Tyneside's Leisure facilities are being scrutinised and the council have been pushing to get plans for a new pool at the site of the Pier Amusements. Since Derby Street Baths closure in the 1990s South Shields has not had a proper swimming facility - the pool at Temple Park being very much a leisure pool - if you want a pool for a proper swim you need to travel to Hebburn.

It's such a shame for Temple Park though. The Centre needs a serious amount of investment to take it into the twenty first century - it could be argued it needs completely demolishing and rebuilding - as the cost of a new roof would be exorbitant. Surely when considering the high rate of obesity and the propensity for young offenders in South Shields there would be a way to wangle the funding on the basis a state of the art leisure centre could help to negate these two problems?

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