Hucknall's MP joins fight to save Edgewood Leisure Centre

The campaign to save Edgewood Leisure Centre in Hucknall from closure has been joined by the town’s MP, Mark Spencer.

By RICHARD SILVERWOOD
Monday, 2nd March 2020, 12:00 am
Updated Thursday, 5th March 2020, 1:53 pm
Edgewood Leisure Centre in the west of Hucknall, which is facing probable closure.
Edgewood Leisure Centre in the west of Hucknall, which is facing probable closure.

A petition has already been launched by Hucknall Labour councillors, Lauren Mitchell and Keir Morrison, who also organised a public demonstration on Sunday (see page 4).

Now, Conservative MP Mr Spencer has declared he is vehemently opposed to the probable closure too.

The future of the centre, which includes a swimming pool, has been thrown into doubt after Ashfield District Council announced plans to pull out of its management responsibilities to save costs.

It wants to pass on control of the leisure facilities to the adjoining Edgewood Primary and Nursery School. But the school says it is in no position to do that, which could lead to the centre shutting down.

Now, Mr Spencer has written to the council’s leader, Coun Jason Zadrozny, who heads the ruling Independents party. He said: “I have written to express my absolute dismay at the plans to close the centre, and to discuss ways in which this could be avoided. This is absolutely not the route I think the council should be going down.

“The centre is popular and well-used. Kids learn to swim there, community groups meet there, and sports and fitness groups use the facilities. It is a big part of Hucknall's health and fitness.”

In his letter, Mr Spencer warns the the closure of Edgewood Leisure Centre would force many sports groups and community organisations to fold.

He added: “We should be looking to improve our leisure offer in Hucknall, not taking away vital services that the area desperately needs. The alternative, Hucknall Leisure Centre, is already stretched, has little provision for younger swimmers, and there are significant congestion issues around parking.”

Contrary to the view that Edgewood is well-used, the council insists its performance is “generally poor”, which reflects the fact it is small and outdated. In 12 key performance categories, identified by an independent assessment, Edgewood scored below the benchmark range in ten. What’s more, a public consultation revealed that 92.5 per cent of customers believed resources should now be focused on the district's larger leisure centres.