MP pledges help for ‘homeless’ bowlers and others

MP pledges help for ‘homeless’ bowlers and others

THE fight is on to make sure that groups using the doomed Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre have alternative venues.

An expanded fitness suite is due to open at Spenborough Pool in Liversedge in January and Kirklees Council have allocated £15m for a new sports centre on the neighbouring Princess Mary athletics track.

At least until then, some groups, particularly indoor bowlers, are likely to be homeless.

Campaigners had argued for a new sports centre with equivalent facilities to be built elsewhere on the Whitcliffe site.

One was not included, but it was claimed that one could be added which the school would be happy to accommodate as they do at present. Councillors voted not to take a risk and now the battle is on to make sure all users have alternative accommodation.

Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox said: “I would never tell campaigners to give up their fight to keep the centre open but the sad fact is that Kirklees Cabinet has now made its decision.

“It really is a sad day for users of the centre and I remain critical of some of the ways in which the decision was made.

“Whitcliffe Mount did, and still does, a lot right. It was a big, positive part of a number of people’s lives.

“Local people have every right to protest and, importantly, to demand good sports facilities in Spen.

“I believe my job now is to help the current users find homes until new facilities can be made available.

“From two public meetings I’ve previously held, I’ve a good list of current users and groups. But I’m not in touch with all of them.

“I urge everyone to get in touch, even if provision has already been offered to your group, because I want to know what is working and what isn’t.”

She added: “The council’s commitment to invest in a new facility at the site of the Spen baths can’t come soon enough.

“The design needs to accommodate as many of Whitcliffe’s current users as it possibly can. I’ll push very hard for that to happen.”

Mrs Cox has a separate email address (wmsc@jocox.org.uk) where sports centre users can contact her.

They can also call her constituency office on 01924 910499 or write to Jo Cox MP, 3-5 Branch Road, Batley, WF17 5RY.

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