MORE than 97 per cent of Andover residents feel they have not been “properly consulted” on plans for the new Andover Leisure Centre, according to recently released statistics.

The figures, from a survey launched by Andover town councillors Richard Rowles, Christopher Ecclestone and Richard Kidd, show just 12 out of 567 respondents felt adequately consulted about the proposals.

The other 555, nearly 98 per cent of all respondents, said they did not feel properly consulted about the plans for the new facility, submitted by incoming provider Places for People Leisure.

The week-long online survey, which began on March 7, also found 89 per cent of people disagreed with proposals to shut parts of the centre for up to two years while the new facility is built.

Meanwhile, almost 80 per cent of respondents said they disagreed with Test Valley Borough Council’s plans to spend around £800,000 on a temporary swimming pool in Andover to plug the gap left behind when the current pool closes on April 1.

Responding to the survey, councillor Rowles said: “The people of Andover finally have a voice on this issue, it’s very clear from this survey they feel they have not been consulted, and with 80 per cent against spending a shed load more of taxpayers’ money on a temporary pool.

“This survey cost practically nothing.

“It’s quite clear some of the people we have elected at Test Valley Borough Council up to now are just not doing their job.”

Test Valley Borough Council’s community and leisure portfolio holder, councillor Tony Ward, has once again defended the leisure centre plans, while also questioning the validity of the survey.

He said: “It’s not surprising the response considering the questions that they have asked.

“With the consultation, it is difficult to explain to the public.

“If we had done a consultation it would have had to have taken place years ago before we started the tender process and those needs might not have been relevant now.

“I’ll be honest I’m not exactly sure how we would have even done a consultation.

“If we had told people we wanted to spend £20 million on new facilities but £16 million in Andover and £2 million in Romsey and we asked people across the borough what they thought, imagine what would the reaction be?”

“If you asked the public if they want an Olympic size swimming pool I know what the answer will be, but it might not be economically possible.”

Talking about the process used to select Places for People as the eventual leisure providers he added: “We consulted other councils beforehand and they all pointed us in the direction of the Sports England procedure.

“Once you’ve started the process you can’t have much consultation.

“You have to give broad ideas of what the council require and it is up to the bidders to submit a plan.

“For us we asked for significant investment in Andover as well as things like a greater pool capacity.

“With this process there is less consultation involved, but I really do believe the people in Andover are getting a fantastic facility.”