Fears of a sports ‘black hole’ in Spen pool plans

PLANS for an extension to a Spen sports centre leave a “black hole” in provision, a councillor warned.

Coun John Lawson (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton) spoke out after extra gym space was announ-ced for the Spenborough Pool and Fitness Complex.

The aim is to replace some services offered at Cleckheaton’s Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre, which is to be demolished due to an expansion of the adjoining secondary school.

Coun Lawson warned the council plan for Liversedge does not include facilities for football, basketball, hockey or indoor bowls.

He said: “I’m concerned that this will leave a big black hole in sports provision across Spen Valley.

“We asked questions of the council and got no real answers about what the people who use these other facilities are supposed to do.”

Modular units would be added to the current Spenborough Pool site – which itself is considered beyond its lifespan.

Council chiefs claim the extra gym space would account for nearly half of Whitcliffe Mount’s useage.

In the longer term, a new sports centre is planned for the Princess Mary Stadium next to the pool.

Council leader Coun David Sheard (Lab, Heckmondwike) insists Kirklees is looking to avoid that “black hole” in temporary provision.

He said: “We don’t want to be in a position where we don’t have facilities for current users.

“We’ll have to work wherever possible with partners to offer alternatives for activities not included in the modular-build interim project.

“I understand residents are concerned about the closing of Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre.

“But the ambition to build a new sports centre is one shared by the people and the council, the council having adopted this as a priority.”

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