Fears that Spen will lose sports facilities

Fears that Spen will lose sports facilities

A NEW sports centre proposed for Liversedge may not be built after all, a councillor has claimed.

Kirklees Council last week refused an appeal over the axe of Cleckheaton’s Whitcliffe Mount Sport Centre.

On Tuesday the authority’s district-wide sports facilities masterplan was published.

The council were said to be keen on building a new sports centre on the site of the Princess Mary athletics stadium in Liversedge.

But Coun John Lawson (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton) said the report has nothing specific about this.

He added: “Often what is not said is more important than what is – and there is no mention of a new sports centre at Princess Mary.

“I’ve said repeatedly that a sports centre at Princess Mary’s wouldn’t be viable without an anchor tenant.

“That was one of the things in the report – it would risk White Elephant-itis in that there wouldn’t be a school there.”

Coun Lawson believes this backs up the case of protesters who forced last week’s council debate.

More than 4,000 people signed a petition in favour of adding a public sports hall to the rebuilt Whitcliffe Mount School.

The current sports centre next door will be demolished to make way for the new £13m school.

It was claimed the contractor could add an extra sports hall for £2m, which could come from the council’s capital budget.

Kirklees is already spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on ‘temporary’ facilities at the Spenborough Pool.

Coun Lawson said: “The report also said that in each area of Kirklees most residents are 20 minutes’ walk from a sports centre of a certain size.

“The removal of Whitcliffe Mount takes people from across the Spen Valley out of that category.

“So we’re talking about diminished services, a fall down in provision which will affect the elderly, young families and a host of health and social issues.”

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