Public will have a say on sports plans in Sandy

Sandy Sports Centre ENGPNL00120140402162043
Sandy Sports Centre ENGPNL00120140402162043

Sandy residents were surprised to hear some of their leisure facilities might be withdrawn, without any initial consultation, a meeting heard.

Certain leisure activities at Sandy Upper School are being stopped, but others will continue, Central Bedfordshire Council was told.

It was exclusively revealed a fortnight ago by the Chronicle that leisure staff at Sandy Sports and Community Centre face losing their jobs after the contractor for the local authority admitted it had been operating at a loss for several years.

The staff at the Engayne Avenue centre were put under notice of possible redundancy.

The issue came to light for residents via social media, according to councillor Caroline Maudlin.

She asked executive member colleagues whether Sandy residents will be consulted about the withdrawal of sports facilities and when will that be?

Arlesey councillor Ian Dalgarno, the executive member for community services, said: “We have been reviewing the leisure offer at Sandy secondary academy.

“The current financial model for that leisure facility needs to be on a sustainable footing and currently it isn’t.

“We are in talks with the school, the town council and the operator, Stevenage Leisure, about our options.

“These may include withdrawal from the sports hall and the relocation of activities that we did in the sports hall to other facilities.

“The school will then have the sports hall for its own use at those times,” he added.

“We will, of course, at the conclusion of our talks with different parties be going into a full public consultation on the offer going forward.

“But I can assure you and members of the public that we are working with all of the parties to bring forward good leisure facilities and the best possible offer for Sandy residents.”

Conservative councillor for Sandy, Tracey Stock, asked him if he could confirm which sports facilities will remain in Sandy following the consultation.

Councillor Dalgarno replied: “Currently there is a gym attached to the leisure facilities. That will stay as it is, on the same hours as now.

“We have the athletics track as well,” he said. “It’s not our intention to do anything with that.

“It continues to be run extremely well by the athletics club. And I know the school is offering to continue with the netball club.

“All the other facilitities and services we provide, we will and are conducting a consultation on those with the different providers.

“And, at that point, I’ll be able to give you a better idea of what we are going to do going forward.”