Bowlers in cold as sport centre shuts

INDOOR bowlers face being turfed out for the second time in a year when a Cleckheaton sports centre shuts.

Kirklees Council announced that Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre will close for the last time on Friday, May 20.

The venue on Turnsteads Avenue is to be demolished so the high school next door can be rebuilt at a cost of £13m.

Indoor bowlers moved to Cleckheaton from Hudders-field last year when the sports centre there closed.

Teams were not offered space at that town’s new £36m leisure centre and Whitcliffe was the last remaining council venue for the sport. There is no direct replacement at the moment, though one could be built in Liversedge.

Kirklees insist they worked with sports centre users on providing alternative accommodation.

But in January indoor bowlers claimed they would be left homeless and might have to play in Leeds or Oldham.

Such a move, which affects about 600 players, would bring an end to the sport in Kirklees after more than 40 years.

Cabinet member for resources Coun Graham Turner (Lab) said: “We know the sports centre is well-loved and the closure has evoked some strong emotions.

“But closing the sports centre is the only way to ensure the crumbling school can be replaced. The school is in desperate need of replacement and we owe it to our children to ensure they are taught in a high quality environment.

“I understand the frustrations of sports centre users but we have worked with many of them to ensure they have adequate provision elsewhere.”

Those arrangements include an expanded gym at the Spenborough Pool complex, which cost £400,000.

Coun Turner said he is confident such facilities would meet the needs of users “in the Whitcliffe Mount area”.

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