A new leisure facility for Ingleby Barwick (including a swimming pool, library and customer service centre) is part of major investments being proposed by Labour-led Stockton Council in the south of our Borough. This is excellent news for the estate.
I am delighted that I can at last talk about Labour's plans to support the ambitions of the people of Ingleby Barwick in providing some top quality facilities for our area.
Earlier this year we heard that Stockton Borough Council had identified £6m for infrastructure spending in the south of the borough. I began talks with the leadership about what the cash might be spent on and put in a major plug for Ingleby Barwick. My campaign team and I have now been to nearly every door and talked to thousands of residents - and of course I live on Ingleby myself. As a result of this massive exercise I am in a position to be very clear about local priorities. A very strong one has been that we needed more for people to do - and particularly young people.
Ingleby Barwick has been built over a thirty year period and indeed some houses are still being built today. The statutory services have kept pace with the growth of this new town (there are for instance 6 primary schools) but there is a real lack of any council provided leisure.
I talked to the council's political leadership team about using some of this £6m for more facilities on Ingleby and they said there was a possibility of building a new wet and dry sports centre - a pool and gym. I was able to confirm that based on my conversations over the last year or so with residents this would be very well received.
Potentially offered with these would be a customer contact centre - it is the same as we have in Stockton library for instance, somewhere for people to access council services without having to travel, like a mini town hall.
A new library may also be on offer. My understanding is that it will only be required and come forward if our existing library space is needed by All Saints for a sixth form for instance. If it stays then we presumably won't need another one. The feasibility study will be able to sort through some of these issues - along with where the new facilities could physically be located.
I look forward to engaging with the process, encouraging my neighbours to do the same and being able to offer something really exciting that we all want and need.
I am aware that IBIS have been calling for facilities too for years as they have recognised this is needed and they have welcomed these plans too. I have no argument with IBIS who are after all in a coalition with Labour in the borough, having two seats on the council cabinet so I am sure we will be able to work together in partnership to make sure the people get the very best deal possible.
All being well with the feasibility study, I am looking forward to going into the local and general election with a manifesto promise of investing in new facilities for Ingleby Barwick; something that surely will have everyone's full support.