Rotherham school gym to close its doors to the public by the end of the year
A school gym which has been open for public use in Rotherham is to close at the end of the year, it has announced.
Thrybergh Academy and Sports College has confirmed it is “financially unsustainable” to continue public access to the premises and that the academy has to “prioritise the education of Thrybergh community students”.
However, the academy has assured users that weekend and evening lettings will continue.
The academy responded to community campaigner Michael Sylvester, who contacted them for clarification after being contacted by several concerned residents.
In a letter to the academy’s governors, he said: “It could not be worse timed with Dalton, Thrybergh and also Ravenfield set to see a large increase in their populations and demand for community sports facilities.
“No doubt you are aware of the current building of 169 homes off Dalton Lane and only last week we had the announcement of pre planning proposals in a fully funded scheme for 239 homes on Chesterhill Avenue, Dalton and Whinney Hill, Thrybergh plus the future addition of 350 homes for Ravenfield.”
That increase in the size of the local community could also present new commercial opportunities for the hall, he suggested.
Mr Sylvester said the area is blighted by severe deprivation, particularly around health, and said: “This closure would be a severe setback especially in terms of fostering healthy lifestyles among families including those of your students.”
He has suggested looking at new avenues for the future of the premises, including the potential use of Community Instrastructure Levy payments from developers in the area – cash they pay towards the impact of putting increased demands on local facilities – or establishing an independent operator to run the gym outside the academy’s finances, insulating education from the impact of any future losses.