Monday 25 October 2021
10.3 C
Nottingham

Hopes that closed John Carroll Leisure Centre in Nottingham could reopen for the community

The councillor in charge of the future of a closed leisure centre in the heart of Radford is hoping it will reopen as a community facility in the future.

Residents living next to John Carroll Leisure Centre said the closure of the popular facility would cause crime to soar and mean hundreds of children will have nowhere to go.

Nottingham City Council made the decision to close the centre in Denman Street Central in June describing it as the ‘least used facility with the highest council subsidy’.

Campaigners fought to save the leisure centre, which has a gym, swimming pool as well as holding sports and fitness classes, with more than 60 people taking part in a street protest.

A petition against the closure with more than 2,000 names was also handed into the council.

Now, the councillor in charge of  Leisure, Culture and Schools, Councillor Eunice Campbell-Clark, said she is hoping the building will be saved after entering into talks with Nottingham Forest Community Trust.

Councillor Campbell-Clark is hoping a decision can be reached by November.

She said the council had toyed with the idea of having the leisure centre open during summer holidays rather than complete closure.

She said: “We had to go for the closure for now.

“We thought we could open it short-term but we did not like opening and closing it. The problem was the leisure centre was having financial problems because people were not using it that much.

“We don’t want young people on the streets. We are eager to maintain it. A decision will be made in November. It grieves me to close it, but it is a massive drain on the budget.”

Last year, the city council announced plans to make £15.6 million of new cuts with around another £7.2 million to be made on top of this.

The local authority said it had faced huge cost pressures due to the coronavirus pandemic but also anticipated losses of £38.2m from the sale of failed energy company Robin Hood Energy.

The closure of John Carroll Leisure Centre was one of the decisions the authority made to help balance its books.

The city council argued there was alternative provision at Djanogly Community Leisure Centre and Harvey Hadden Sports Complex – but residents said they needed a community centre on their doorstep.

Councillor Campbell-Clark said she was hoping the new facility will still have a gym, with football facilities, and using both the indoor and outdoor space.

She believes the pool is unlikely to continue.

“We do not want to leave the community high and dry without a community facility.

“My wish would be something that comes in and provides some community facilities for the people of Radford and Lenton.”

Graham Moran, chief executive of Nottingham Forest’s Community Trust, which pioneers community programmes, has been brought in to find ‘a long-term sustainable future for the site.”

This has included talks with ‘community-based organisations’.

He said: “We are not looking to buy the building. We have put ourselves up to find a positive solution.

“We are trying to bring people together. There is a space and facility there in the heart of Radford and we are working closely to find a solution. We have not got a solution yet.

“That facility is closed. It has ended its life as a leisure centre and what we are trying to do is create more spaces for sport and physical and mental wellbeing that is based around local people and make them sustainable.

“This will only happen if it meets the needs of the people in Radford.”

Daniel Thomas, 32, of Sherwood, set up The Save John Carroll Campaign, after hearing about its potential closure.

Mr Thomas believes the leisure centre is part of the make-up of Radford and he recalls countless hours at the centre as a child.

He said: “There are two sides to this – it is a great opportunity to get John Carroll back to what it used to be as a community space especially when it comes to young people.

“I have heard plans for investment on the astroturf which we needed for a long time but Radford is still one of the most deprived areas and has a strong older population so from a health prospective it is not great if the swimming pool goes.”