Cabinet members have decided to close Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre.

Whitcliffe

The decision to close Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre means work can begin next year on a replacement for the school (which is joined to the centre).

The replacement school is part of the Government’s priority schools building programme. Without the decision to close the sports centre the cabinet were clear that funding for the school rebuilding would have been lost.

The council’s Cabinet (the key decision makers) held their meeting at the sports centre so that anyone who was interested could share their views. Most of the local people that spoke asked for the centre to stay open. They spoke passionately about the need for the centre, the impact on the local area and how closing it would affect the health of residents. They also said that Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre was well used by clubs and individuals for a range of sports.

Councillors reconsidered all the information presented, including the views expressed in the meeting and a full equalities impact assessment (as recommended by the local Government Ombudsman). They also considered any external changes since they made their original decision in December 2013.

A second option – to overturn the original decision, retain the sports centre and ask the Education Funding Agency to redesign and reprogramme the new school project was not supported.

Deputy Council leader Cllr Jean Calvert, who chaired the meeting, said she was satisfied that most people would be able to access provision at other KAL sites. A new improved fitness area will open 1.8 miles away at Spenborough pool in January.

Cllr Graham Turner said the financial position could only support taking the option to close the centre, as it makes a loss currently and the funding for the new school would be put at very significant risk.

The decision means the Whitcliffe Mount sports centre is likely to close in May so it can be demolished to make way for the building of the new school.

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