Fears about future use of at-risk Sheffield leisure centre

Stocksbridge Leisure Centre
Stocksbridge Leisure Centre
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CONCERNS have been raised about future use of the Stocksbridge Leisure Centre site if the facility is closed.

The land on Moorland Road, which also includes three football pitches, was donated to the town by farmer Thomas Oxley and is owned by a trust - but its trustees are Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore and chief executive John Mothersole.

Coun Jack Clarkson, UKIP Stocksbridge town councillor and a former Liberal Democrat city councillor for the area, said: “News of the possible closure of the centre is very concerning indeed. There are many, many ‘user groups’ who are absolutely devastated by news of the possible closure.

“Just over a year ago, town councillors at Stocksbridge were given a presentation by a council planning officer who suggested the authority wanted to close the centre and keep a small swimming pool in the area, and the land would possibly be redesignated for development.

“The council officer was politely told that was not on.

“I would ask that a copy of the deeds of trust for the land be forwarded urgently, so people can see whether any conditions were imposed.”

Coun Clarkson said he fears the land could be reused for housing or a travellers’ site.

“There would be a lot of concern in the town if the leisure centre land were to be used for that,” he added.

A meeting about the future of the centre is to be held today by members of Stocksbridge and Upper Don Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, at the Arc, Manchester Road, Stocksbridge, from 10.30am.

And hundreds of people are expected at a demonstration outside the leisure centre against its possible closure, from 10.30am on Saturday.

Sheffield Council said it is considering closing the leisure centre because it needs extensive modernisation and costs £400,000 a year in subsidy - equivalent to £3 per head, and six times the figure for other leisure centres.

The council is planning a new pool and gym for north Sheffield at a location to be decided.

It would not comment on future use of the Stocksbridge site.

Sport, culture and leisure cabinet member Coun Isobel Bowler said: “Because of the massive and unfairly targeted Government cuts, we can no longer fund Stocksbridge Leisure Centre.”

Are you happy with plans for leisure facilities in north Sheffield?

Email: letters@thestar.co.uk