Sandy Sports Centre users voice anger over impending closure

PUBLISHED: 17:10 28 September 2018 | UPDATED: 11:26 01 October 2018

Sandy Sports Centre. Picture: Google Maps

Sandy Sports Centre. Picture: Google Maps

Archant

A public consultation is to be held regarding the future of Sandy Sports Centre following calls to keep it open.

Central Bedfordshire Council confirmed that residents will be consulted regarding the future of the hall at Sandy Upper School, in Engayne Avenue, from October 28.

A spokeswoman for the council told the Comet that financial losses were behind the possible closure of the centre.

She said: “The financial model at Sandy needs to be on a more sustainable footing, as it has been operating at a loss for some years.

“We have been exploring options to reduce the leisure operating costs but maintain leisure provision as much as possible.

“We are discussing with the school and our leisure contractors, Stevenage Leisure Limited, to see how best the leisure services at Sandy can be continued, and to minimise any impact on customers.

“We will be consulting with the public on what and how we might provide leisure services in Sandy in the future.

“All bookings at Sandy will go on as usual and no changes will take place before a consultation process has taken place.”

The facilities have been open since 1974 and are used by a host of sports clubs, including football, karate, trampolining and squash.

Among those is Sandy Badminton Club, with member John Noble frustrated by the prospect of the centre closing.

“We have been informed that we were no longer able to use the Sandy Secondary School sports hall to play badminton,” he said.

“As the group have been playing for 25 years it has led to great disappointment and frustration that we are losing a service that is provided to us.

“Sandy is an up-and-coming town and needs all the facilities to attract newcomers and to supply the service of the residents that are already here.”

Fellow member Tony Richardson has written a letter to the council regarding the possible closure, raising concerns about the club’s future.

He wrote: “Shutting this sports hall will mean that there is no facility in Sandy for any indoor sports activities.

“The nearest would be Biggleswade and with the growing populations of both towns maintaining a group or club would be frustratingly difficult.”

The council is yet to confirm when the public consultation will begin.

• Editor’s note (October 1): A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the council had confirmed that the centre would be closing on October 28, and that the consultation would be beginning only after this. This is not the case and we are pleased to set the record straight.

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