A BROMSGROVE mum has launched a campaign to save the sports hall at Bromsgrove’s Dolphin Centre.
The district council has unveiled plans for the new Bromsgrove Sport and Leisure Centre just down from where the Dolphin Centre stands but the proposals do not include a sports hall and the current one will be bulldozed as part of the development.
Louise Humphries, whose boys Ethan and Callum, go to FootieBugs at the Dolphin Centre on Saturdays, said she and others were concerned demolishing the building would put an end to a variety of activities.
“My two love FootieBugs – they look forward to it every week and there are a load of others like them.
“We’re worried without that sports hall, there will be no FootieBugs.
“There is such a demand for sports halls at weekends for a variety of activities and I don’t think the town will have enough of that kind of space for all of them if the Dolphin Centre one is taken away.”
Dean Reaver, regional manager for Footiebugs Worcestershire, said demolishing the sports hall could have an impact on childhood obesity levels, adding FootieBugs strived to get as many children as possible enjoying sport from a young age in a friendly environment.
“Who would want to take their four-year-old out to play football on a cold wet December morning?
“This could put the poor child off sport for life which could then lead to obesity and possible health issues in the future.
“We need to be building more sports halls not losing the ones we already have.”
Stacey Nokes, a Dolphin Centre member for more than ten years and FootieBugs coach, said when they planned to bring the activity to Bromsgrove, they struggled to find a venue but the Dolphin Centre sports hall was ideal.
“They are looking at sharing North Bromsgrove High School’s which I think hasn’t been confirmed but will only be available to use after school and weekends.
“Are we going to be guaranteed our times at north’s sports hall with the new plans?”
Louise has launched the ‘Save Our Sports Hall – Bromsgrove’ Facebook page. It has more than 300 ‘Likes’ and she is hoping more people will follow suit.
She also urged residents to visit https://www.change.org/p/bromsgrove-district-council-save-our-sports-hall and sign the online petition, calling on the council to reconsider demolishing the sports hall.
Online petitions are considered by the monitoring officer and councillors who decide whether to take action and, if so, what that action is.
Among the actions that could be taken are council representatives meeting with the petitioners, holding a consultation or inquiry or having the issue discussed in the council chamber.
A Bromsgrove District Council spokesperson said during the authority’s consultation, people clearly stated they valued having a leisure centre, so it was providing a new one with the best facilities, using the resources available.
“That includes new swimming pools, fitness suites, studios and more, but not an on-site sports hall which made the whole centre unaffordable.
“Instead we are to increase and improve the way other local sports halls are used, in shared-use partnerships across the community.
“Of course sharing facilities, such as using school sports halls once the children have gone home, or using international-class swimming pools a short distance away, does unfortunately affect a small number of people.
“We have reluctantly accepted this because it is only by making more effective use of facilities like this we are able to build new improved public leisure facilities for another generation despite unprecedented reductions in public spending.”