DOZY’S RAMBLES: Outdoor activities centre a real ‘jewel in the crown’

Mike Mendoza
Mike Mendoza

The Adur Outdoor Activities Centre (AOAC) must not be allowed to close.

After years of struggling it appeared that the centre had turned a corner offering unique activities that you would never imagine were available in our little town, and all in one exquisite site.

The AOAC had been well supported over the years by both Adur and West Sussex councils, as well as MP Tim Loughton.

So why has the present situation happened?

Last week’s cover story in the Herald told us that the trust will be pulling out from the centre within days, leaving its future hanging in the balance.

Was the trust not fit for purpose? Did they try to get another organisation to run the centre?

It was a disgrace when, two years ago, West Sussex County Council pulled all its funding so that the trust could run the venue as an independent charity.

May I venture to suggest that this was a very shortsighted cost saving exercise on behalf of the council?

The trust recently brought in an outside organisation to help with reducing costs – I am sure that this was at a cost.

So here we have an outdoor activities centre, based ideally on the River Adur with all a river has to offer to help with activities such as canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding.

And guess what? The first thing to go is canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding.

They have kept the climbing wall and I hope they have kept the cycle hire deal that was arranged a couple of years ago (with no cost to the centre), plus, of course, the archery set up.

The centre is an essential part of our local leisure activities, a real jewel in the crown, and hopefully both Adur and West Sussex councils can get together to ensure that this continues to stay open and flourish under professional guidance – but not at any cost!

The new-look Shoreham Centre is now open with the brand new council chamber used for the first time over the past week.

The new council chamber has been named the Queen Elizabeth II Room. I understand this was a decision made by a select few without any consultation.

I have no problem with the name and would have liked at one time for the Adur Ferry Bridge to have received the name of our monarch, who at the time of the opening of the bridge was celebrating her amazing anniversary.

The public, in general, were totally against any suggestion that the Queen’s historic reign should be celebrated in this way, so congratulations to Adur District Council for taking the bit between their teeth and going for this.

All staff will move in over the next few weeks, thus rendering the old civic centre totally redundant.

Hopefully the news of a new sale will be announced very shortly after stalling recently, thus ridding the council tax payers of a massive burden.

Don’t forget, Citizens Advice Bureau moves back to Pond Road, to the new-look building, within the next month or so.

So a senior environmental health officer has declared that the music from the Wild Life Festival at Shoreham Airport was not excessive.

I am happy to accept that, but I will not accept that the promoters be allowed to increase the numbers who can attend.

Hopefully the licensing committee will insist on the status quo and enforce last year’s restrictions for the next event and not allow a corporation to dictate to them or the council how they will run an event.

It was the excellent restrictions placed last year, by the committee, that ensured that this was such a well-run event with little or no trouble to the town.

Any problems inside the venue were, in my opinion, down to them, the promoters.

I am sure the festival-going public will make up own their minds if they want to go again, but leave Shoreham town alone, we can handle the noise.

I mentioned last week my interview with Shoreham FC’s chairman Stuart Slaney.

Well, after witnessing, as a season ticket holder, Brighton & Hove Albion’s lacklustre performances recently, and then going home from the Amex thoroughly frustrated at what I have seen, I am now very tempted to become a regular at Shoreham FC’s ground.

Plus it’s only around the corner from where I live!

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