Concerned Kimberley community begs school for compromise on leisure centre use
Members of the community in Kimberley are seeking a solution to help save ‘a vital and much loved resource for residents’ in the town.
A statement issued by Broxtowe Borough Council last week on the future of Kimberley Leisure Centre revealed that following the ending of an agreement with East Midlands Education Trust (EMET) next spring, the building will be mostly used for the benefit of pupils.
Despite promises that gym goers will still be able to access the leisure facilities during evenings and weekends, many residents and local councillors have expressed sadness over the loss of a community facility that has been part of the town for 50 years.
Centre users are concerned that moving forward there will be no public swims during school hours and that gym opening times will be restricted.
Gym goer Ellen Miloro-Deakin said: “Where will people go who can’t or don’t drive, to be able to have a swim and exercise? This is the hub of the community and we need more access than just evenings, weekends and school holidays.”
In response to the news, Kimberley Town Council has taken action by writing a letter to the school’s trust urging them to reconsider.
The letter reads: “Over the last 50 years the leisure centre has become a vital resource for the Kimberley community and surrounding areas.
“The loss of daytime use will hit those most needy with water and gym activities being hit the hardest.
“The daytime planned activities were designed for those who otherwise may not be able use its facilities. Particularly affected will be older people and parents of young children who find this the only suitable accessible time.
“As a town council we have no say in this but are very concerned about the announcement and urge the academy to reconsider their position.”
Earlier this week, Kimberley School head teacher Andrew George acknowledged that it must be an ‘unsettling time’ for the community.
He said: "We are aware of concerns in some areas of the community about access to the leisure facilities from April next year.
"We are working closely with the council and Liberty Leisure to plan for a smooth transition for community access next year.
"The first meeting has already taken place and these concerns were discussed. We do understand that this an unsettling time for the users of the leisure centre.
"However, as the joint statement sets out we are determined to continue to enable the community to access the sporting and leisure facilities outside of school hours. We will continue to update the community on our plans.”