Council Pledges Support For Sports Centre Group
Residents fighting to reopen Kidsgrove sports centre have been told the Borough Council is prepared to consider investing in their proposals.
Cllr. Simon Tagg, the Leader of the Council, has met with representatives of the community group at the site and praised them for their efforts to breathe new life into the building which closed in June last year.
He has now offered the group support from the Council’s professional staff to develop and refine their business case for taking over the running of the centre.
The business case is currently being considered by Staffordshire County Council who are the owners of the building.
Cllr. Tagg said: “I appreciate the time and effort the group have put into the development of their case. I have instructed officers to work with them to develop it further to the point where, hopefully, it is an investable proposition for the Borough Council.
“Staffordshire County Council and the Borough Council are also looking in the medium-term for a replacement sports facility for Kidsgrove. The Borough Council is currently undertaking a feasibility study in this regard and I have asked the group if they will be involved in this work.
“The report and background information will also be made available to the group as this may support the further development of their business case.
“The new administration at the Council is very keen to work with the community group to bring about the reopening of the sports centre at the earliest possible opportunity. I see the community model advanced by them as being the best option for the future, not just in terms of the reopening of the sports centre, but also in terms of the long-term sports provision in Kidsgrove.”
Mark Clews, Chair of the Kidsgrove Sports Centre Community Group, said: “We have received positive feedback from the Borough Council on our business case and officers have highlighted areas where we can do further work to strengthen our case to Staffordshire County Council who are the owners of the building.
“It is imperative that the community of Kidsgrove and surrounding areas have access to leisure and recreational facilities. We believe the current level of provision in the borough is unable to meet the increased levels of demand which is having an adverse effect on the health and well-being of residents.
“Our own research has indicated that since the closure of the centre, 63 per cent of respondents said they no longer took part in any form of recreational fitness activity. Kidsgrove sports centre is an important asset to the local community and it is pleasing the new administration at the Council is recognising this.”
As the community group has registered its interest in running the sports centre and then submitted its business case, the county council has a duty to consider their proposals and can’t do anything within a limited period which could impact on the plans.
This moratorium ends on 18 March although Cllr. Tagg has said he will be speaking to Cllr. Philip Atkins, the Leader of Staffordshire County Council, to see if this deadline can be extended to allow the group more time to refine and develop proposals with support from borough council professional staff.
Cllr. Tagg said: “The long-term aim is to see a new, modern, high quality replacement sports centre for Kidsgrove and I very much see the group’s community model as a key part of this future.”