STOCKSBRIDGE’S doomed leisure centre could be replaced with a new multi-million pound sports centre for the north of Sheffield.
Plans are set to be revealed by Sheffield Council and NHS officials for facilities including a new swimming pool and gym to serve Stocksbridge, Deepcar, High Green, Chapeltown and Ecclesfield.
A location has not yet been chosen for centre, but The Star understands it will be built using some of the £10 million Sheffield is receiving from the Government as part of a post-Olympic public health drive.
Sheffield is becoming a National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, and the plans also involve upgrading Graves Tennis and Leisure Centre at Norton.
News of a new facility was welcomed in Stocksbridge - but residents are continuing to protest against the plan to close the current centre as part of council cuts because of its high subsidy and the need for extensive modernisation.
Sarah Cowley, a childminder and mum-of-two, said: “We are planning a protest at 10.30am on Saturday and are expecting about 500 people.
“If the new centre is in Stocksbridge it would be amazing because it is difficult for anyone without a car to travel elsewhere.
“We need the centre in Stocksbridge, not elsewhere - and the old centre should be kept open until the new one is built.”
Gwen Clegg, treasurer of Stocksbridge and Upper Don Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said: “It’s a disgrace that Stocksbridge Leisure Centre is closing - it’s the only facility kids have around here and a lot of elderly people go swimming there.
“The replacement centre needs to be in Stocksbridge - Chapeltown has its swimming baths and there are better links between other parts of north Sheffield and the rest of the city.”
Mrs Clegg said her group is organising a public meeting about the leisure centre at the ARC, Manchester Road, from 10.30am on Thursday.
Stocksbridge Lib Dem Coun Alison Brelsford said: “At the very least, the council should keep Stocksbridge Leisure Centre open until this new centre is ready.”
UKIP town councillor Jack Clarkson added: “There is concern about what will be built in the current centre’s place if it is closed.”
Coun Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for sport, culture and tourism, said: “We have plans for a new leisure centre to serve the north of Sheffield but final decisions have not yet been taken about the project.”
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