The future of Arley Sports Centre looks set to remain uncertain after North Warwickshire Borough Council announced new openinghours. The changes will see the center close during the day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and close completely on a Friday.
The Sports Centre has been a hot topic of conversation within the local area for many months after the Tory led Council tried to close down the facility. The response from local residents was to collect the biggest petition in North Warwickshire Borough Council’s history. Labour Councillors opposed closure of the Sports Centre and the reduction in hours.
Labour candidate for the Arley by-election and Sports Centre campaigner, Jodie Gosling said;
“This reduction in hours has been met with anger and dismay by many who worked so hard to keep Arley Sports Centre open. It hits vulnerable groups like the elderly, disabled and parents who can’t attend night classes. Many long term members feel they have no choice but to cancel their membership as they can’t access sessions. This is obviously against everything we’ve fought for and will cause more losses and costs for the centre and it will make it difficult to get much-needed new members to make the centre sustainable.
We understand the centre needs to be more efficient and we’ve been working hard with the local community and user and find ways to make Arley Sports Centre make more money on the doors. The message from users is clear, more classes, more play-sessions, more community. Residents have offered so many good ideas, the council need to listen to local people rather than just looking at usage numbers. There is an enormous amount of support for Arley Sports Centre, even from people who don’t use it, they’re not daft they know they’re paying for it in their council taxes, and they want it open!
The decision to keep Arley Sports Centre open was only ever a stay of execution. The Council is carrying out a leisure review which had been delayed until September 2017 but has now been brought forward giving us less time to show this centre can work. Before the news of closures, membership and attendance were growing, we were getting there, all of our hard work was paying off. This is a huge set back, one I’m not sure we can recover from in time. None of the other centres have had to do this, they all lose money on the door, we’ve been singled out again.
I have always been passionate that the residents of this area deserve better. At the very least we deserve our local sports centre to be fairly assessed along with all the other facilities the Council operates in the review.”