Consultation Launched On Future of St Crispin’s Leisure Centre

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The borough council is looking at the future of St Crispin’s Leisure Centre and has launched a consultation to help consider options for the facility.

Falling user numbers

Usage of the centre has been falling, in particular since the opening of Wokingham Leisure Centre at the Carnival Hub and the council wants to consider if keeping it open or finding an alternative use for the site is better for the whole community.

The council will use the findings of the consultation alongside other important factors such as community needs and value for money, to decide on its future. The consultation will be open from today (Monday July 10) to September 4.

Cllr Ian Shenton, executive member for environment, sport and leisure said: “We owe it to our residents to look for the best use of community assets and when the use of one of them is falling it is only right to consider its future. It may be that, following the consultation and looking at other important factors, we decide to keep St Crispin’s Leisure Centre as it is. But it may also be that there is a better use for it that provides more benefit to the wider community.

“Through the next eight weeks we will be talking to people who use the centre to make sure their views are understood but also hope to hear from people who do not currently use the centre.”

Drop-in sessions available

A series of drop-in sessions will be run at St Crispin’s Leisure Centre to give people the opportunity to discuss the consultation with council representatives. These will include one session dedicated solely to regular squash players at the centre because the council understands that a potential closure would have a particular impact on them.

Cllr Shenton said: “We are fully aware that St Crispin’s Leisure Centre has the last remaining council-owned squash court in the borough and there is a very active group of players. We will be engaging with them directly through the consultation. I cannot say to them ‘we will find you an alternative place to play’ because we obviously don’t know if that will be necessary – but I can promise we are open to a proper, ongoing dialogue with them.”

Views wanted on five options

The consultation is asking for views on five options (with an opportunity for participants to offer alternative ideas). These are:

• Keep the leisure centre open

• Close the centre and transfer asset to St Crispin’s School (The Circle Trust) in order to support provision of school places in the borough

• Close the centre and use for other service(s)

• Close the centre and dispose of site with or without planning for residential development

• Close the centre, demolish the buildings and mothball site until land values increase and/or a service need identified

Attend a drop-in session

The drop-in sessions will be:

• Tuesday July 18 – midday to 1.30pm

• Tuesday July 18 – 2pm to 3pm (this will be a dedicated session reserved for regular squash players at the centre)

• Thursday July 20 – 5.30pm to 7pm

• Saturday July 22 – midday to 1.30pm

• Wednesday July 26 – midday to 1.30pm

• Friday July 28 – 5.30pm to 7pm

• Sunday July 30 – midday to 1.30pm

Take part in the consultation

To take part in the consultation please visit engage.wokingham.gov.uk or, if you cannot take part online please email cem@wokingham.gov.uk or call (0118) 974 6000 to request a hard copy or support to complete the consultation.