Bowlers look set to lose out over Huddersfield’s new leisure centre.
They will not have an indoor rink at the new £36m centre currently taking shape in Springwood, despite a vociferous fight to keep a facility.
Kirklees Cabinet members will be asked to agree the details of sports provision in Huddersfield’s new leisure centre when they meet next week.
And the proposal is to axe bowling and replace it with a larger hall for exercises classes.
The building – which is expected to open early in 2015 – will replace the current sports centre in Huddersfield.
Council leader Cllr David Sheard said: “We are designing facilities that will help us meet our health and wellbeing ambitions for people across the district, and are anticipating emerging health needs and future demand.”
Click on the gallery below to see lots more pictures by Construct Films from inside the centre.
A council spokesman said councillors will be asked to agree to increase the availability of group exercise and gym space for rapidly growing activities, but this will be at the expense of a permanent competition standard indoor bowls space.
The council claim that since the new sports centre was proposed in 2008, Kirklees Active Leisure fitness memberships have increased from around 6,500 members to over 21,500 in March 2014, with around 5,000 members at the existing Huddersfield Sports Centre alone. The popularity has been driven partly by the low cost of using the facilities and has seen new people taking part in physical activity. At the same time, bowls use has declined.
But those claims were rejected by the bowlers.
Marie Nicholson, a spokesman for the bowlers using the current centre, said: “It is what we feared all along.
“They have not listened to us but repeatedly fobbed us off by saying they were working to the provisions agreed back in 2011. Now we know they are not.
“They are totally wrong to say the number of bowlers has gone down; the facility is very busy and we know a new one would be.
”We will continue to fight but I fear we will lose out”.
If councillors agree the new specification, council officers will be asked to investigate proposals for alternative league standard bowls provision elsewhere in the district.
A spokesman for Kirklees Council said: “We have now reached the stage of the building work when final decisions have to be made about the exact facilities that will be included in the new leisure centre.
“This has been a long and difficult process which needs to reflect the adoption of the Health and Wellbeing Strategy, our aims to improve health across all groups in Kirklees, and the need to build a leisure centre fit for the next generations of local residents rather than one which reflects our use in 2008.
“The report asks to consider replacing the indoor bowling area with an enhanced fitness facility, building on the success of the current fitness facility provided at the existing sports centre.
“We have a duty to maximise the number of people using the new leisure centre and the replacement of the bowling area with an enhanced fitness facility will allow the council and Kirklees Active Leisure, as our partners and the operators of the new leisure centre, to do that.
“We understand that some people will be left disappointed, but our aim is to make sure that the new leisure centre is used by as many people as possible over the years to come”.
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