Fighting to take over the sports centre

Bridlington's young boxers outside what could be their new home, Bridlington Sports Centre in Gypsey Road. From left: George Smith, Ben Malone, Rolson Larkham, Emily Asquith and Dereck Leyton Farrow.
Bridlington's young boxers outside what could be their new home, Bridlington Sports Centre in Gypsey Road. From left: George Smith, Ben Malone, Rolson Larkham, Emily Asquith and Dereck Leyton Farrow.

Bridlington Club for Young People is lining up its toughest battle yet – by looking to take over the running of the town’s sports centre.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s cabinet has agreed to transfer the site on Gypsey Road to the club, which operates the town’s boxing club, when the new Leisure World complex opens next year.

Terms of the contract are still being finalised, and the matter is due before a meeting of the full council today.

But the cabinet’s recommendation says the club will have the council in their corner with a one-off payment to cover a backlog of maintenance and then financial support, reducing year-on-year, until 2020.

Andy Potts, chairman of Bridlington CYP said: “Once the new Leisure World opened, the place could have been flattened, with just a couple of changing rooms left for the football pitches.

“We thought that would be a real shame, when you could have an asset that used for the community of Bridlington. Even if a commercial enterprise had come in, it would have been all about a profit, rather than serving the community.

“Our plan is about putting something back into the town.

“We have got a strong committee with people who have experience of running leisure centres. There will still be plenty of things to learn, and some rocky patches, but you can say that about any project.”

A council report said the sports centre, which currently has a gym, squash courts and an indoor sports hall used for badminton and fencing, would be ‘surplus to requirements’ once Leisure World reopened next summer.

However, it would still be responsible for providing changing rooms and maintaining the outdoor pitches, even if the centre had closed.

So, councillors have decided to hand over responsibility for the whole facility to the club, which is a registered charity.

Mr Potts said: “We will work to build up funds which will make us self-sufficient after four years.

“Once the operating costs are settled, everything will be invested back into the facility.

“We don’t want to be in competition with the new Leisure World. That wouldn’t benefit either site.

“We will keep our existing building on Thorpe Street, because we own that building.

“Boxing will move to the sports centre, and football and boxing will be the main focus but it will be about lots of other things too, and there will still be room for community groups.”

The main hall will be used mainly for indoor football training and the squash courts will be transformed into a boxing gym.