Council set to axe sports hall funding

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HARROGATE Borough Council is braced to pull out of running one of the main sports centres in the town in a bid to counter £2.6m in budget cuts, leading councillors have warned.

The Yorkshire Post understands that a report is going before cabinet member for cultural services Coun Caroline Bayliss, next week, proposing that the council pulls out of Rossett Sports Centre, attached to Rossett School.

The sports centre, which is widely used by a host of local sports teams, is currently run by a joint use agreement between Rossett School and Harrogate Borough Council.

The two bodies currently share the cost of the facilities, with the school entitled to full use during the day, and the council in the evening.

Coun Jim Clark and Coun Michelle Woolley, who represent Rossett on Harrogate Borough Council, are now urging the local authority to maintain funding for the vital community facility.

“Because of the budget cuts, it seems they don’t want to support Rossett Sports Centre any more,” Coun Clark said.

“This would mean the school or another organisation would have to run it.

“People are very concerned about this. A similar proposal was first suggested by the council about six years ago and we got that stopped. We are determined to keep this facility open for the people of Harrogate.”

The sports centre contains a sports hall, squash courts, 3G football pitch, gym and five floodlit netball and tennis courts.

The council saw a £1.6m reduction in its budget this year, with the Government grant expected to fall next year by more than £1m.

A council spokeswoman said: “As part of the council’s budget setting process for 2012/13, officers have identified a number of options for achieving efficiency savings. This is very early in the budget setting process and none of the proposals have yet been discussed by senior councillors.”