There will be a meeting in the White Bear, St Michael’s Hill on Wednesday 16th March to discuss the process for saving the Kingsdown Sports Centre. Below is a communication from the High Kingsdown Community Association, the group organising the resistance to the closure of our local Sports Centre.
Following on from the first Public Meeting organised by High Kingsdown Community Association in October 2021, a small Steering Group of local residents and Sports Centre users has been exploring the options for keeping the centre open as a major asset in our community.
The focus of attention until now has been to try and make the case for the centre to remain part of the Council’s portfolio of leisure centres when it re-lets the contract for their operation over the coming year.
Unfortunately, the Mayor re-confirmed his decision not to include the Sports Centre in the leisure centre contract at the Cabinet meeting on the 8th February. However, at the same meeting he also made clear that he was not taking a decision to close the Centre, and that the next year would be used to find another operator who could run the facility at no net cost to the council. As there have already been some expressions of interest in doing this, he was optimistic that this outcome can be achieved.
The Centre now faces a year of uncertainty, with a risk that an operator won’t be found, or that the extent and access to the facilities at the centre by the local community may become more restricted or costly, or both.
An alternative view would be to see this decision as a positive opportunity for a community led (or backed) proposal to come forward. There are plenty of inspiring examples of this nationally and locally, and within our own local community we already have talented individuals who have the experience and drive to help make this a reality.
In fact, the centre could become a more vibrant, inclusive, and welcoming community facility than it already is, if we can work on a new vision and secure new investment in its facilities.
The way the centre is currently operated means that is does not quite cover its running costs, so this would need to be addressed, and any plans for an expansion of facilities at the site would also need investment: but the site has clear potential to become an even more valuable community asset for a much wider number of people than it is currently able to do.
High Kingsdown Community Association are holding a second Public Meeting to discuss the options for the future of the centre and to see if we can establish a clear community-backed set of proposals to be discussed with the Council. We would like to either enable the community to take on the running of the centre, or to influence the plans of like-minded partners so the best outcome is delivered for the community.
Please register your interest in attending the meeting which will be at the
The White Bear, St Michael’s Hill, High Kingsdown at 6.30 – 8.00 on the 16th March 2022
Please register to attend by emailing : firstname.lastname@example.org