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Cornwall Council accused of 'hypocrisy' over leisure centre stag parties in Newquay

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: February 27, 2014

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CORNWALL Council has been accused of hypocrisy after it offered Newquay Sports Centre as a venue for stag and hen party activities.

The council leads the multi-agency Newquay Safe group, which aims to tackle alcohol-related issues in the resort and change its reputation as a booze-focused party town.

But the website for the council-subdised sports centre offers stag parties of ten people or more the chance to pay £15 a head for a game of sport, a meal and an alcoholic drink.

The Tretherras Road centre is run by Tempus Leisure, which receives £1.56 million a year to operate 17 leisure centres in Cornwall.

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Local businessman Dirk Parker, who runs Newquay's Biggest Bar Tour among other ventures, drew attention to the "inconsistency" on a Facebook forum last week.

He stated: "I have no problem with it. It's just a tad inconsistent from Cornwall Council."

Town councillor Lyndon Harrison described them as "hypocrites", but added: "Still, you've got to make money sometimes. It's a bit rich to have councillors reeling against stuff that's then being promoted by one of their businesses."

Many of the town's Cornwall councillors have campaigned against the drinking culture since the death of teenagers Paddy Higgins and Andrew Curwell in 2009 after falling from cliffs while under the influence of drink.

However, those that spoke to the Cornish Guardian said they had no issue with the sports centre offering stag parties.

Dave Sleeman, who led the campaign to "clean up Newquay" in 2009, said: "It's not in the town centre so I don't see a problem. We're not talking about drunks dancing in the streets in mankinis, which is what I've objected to in the past."

Geoff Brown, ward member for Newquay Central on Cornwall Council, said: "This sits very well with the ethos of Newquay Safe, and seems like a great alternative to the usual 'getting plastered' type of stag do."

Pat Lambshead added: "These places have to make money and I see no difference between this and a rugby team having drinks in the bar after a game."

Tempus Leisure said stag parties were one of many groups invited to use the sports facilities "as an alternative to just 'meeting down the pub'."

It said: "It is primarily offered as a private hire sports session and not as what some people might consider a stag party to be. Catering facilities in publicly owned premises, whether licensed or otherwise, provide a very important customer service."

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