Category Archives: Kidsgrove Sports Centre
Please Sign the Petition to call for Staffordshire County Council to invest much needed funds for a new Kidsgrove Sports Centre:
As many residents in Kidsgrove are aware, Kidsgrove Sports Centre has recently been a hot topic for debate. The building is not fit for purpose and due to lack of investment people have left the centre in droves. But who is to blame for this?
Back in 2010 when I was first elected, my labour colleagues and I regularly complained that the sports centre was in a shambolic state. The Conservative administrations at Newcastle and Staffordshire refused to listen to our calls to action. In fact, at one meeting, I was shouted down by the Tories and told to ‘take my crocodile tears elsewhere’. There was much debate going on at the time with regards to the expense of the Jubilee 2 in Newcastle Town Centre. This facility cost the councils reserves £10.5 Million, whilst Kidsgrove Sports Centre was left to rot.
My crocodile tears were no more when all of a sudden a storm brought down the pool roof in October 2011. The County Council carried out a survey to inspect the damage and told the public the pool will re-open when the facility was made safe again. Kidsgrove Councillors had an uphill battle from then on. For months we demanded action from both Newcastle Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council. It became clear that even though there was a joint use agreement between the two councils and Clough Hall School, Staffordshire County Council owned the building and they should pay for the repairs. Slowly but surely, Kidsgrove Sports Centre went from a bustling community facility to a dead zone. My colleagues and I were furious with the then administration refusing to take action. It was clear that this could be an opportunity to put things right once and for all. We were angry that Newcastle Borough Councils reserves had been frittered away on expensive plush facilities elsewhere.
In February 2012 The Sentinel reported:
Mayor Kyle Robinson said: “It is an outrage that we spent £10.5 million on the Jubilee2 centre in Newcastle when there are 7,500 properties that pay council tax here in Kidsgrove.
“We need to find out what plans are being put in place because we deserve a Jubilee2, and not just at the top end of Newcastle. We have been side-tracked and it is not acceptable.”
The months went on and it became clear that Newcastle Borough Council had irresponsibly used their reserves to the bare bone. This meant that the County Council would have to repair the pool roof and move things forward as they owned the building. Finally in April 2012 Staffordshire County Council accepted responsibility through gritted teeth and pledged funding for a new pool roof. Councillors and residents were delighted that finally after months of pressure placed on both administrations at Newcastle and Staffordshire, a solution was in sight. The fact remains that we should never have been put in that position and both councils should have treated the people of Kidsgrove with respect. Instead, we felt like we were being treated like the second citizens of Newcastle. We pay the same, we should get the same!
The pool re-opened in November 2012. It took over a year to get the facility back into use. It could have simply been a couple of months. In the end, Staffordshire County Council forked out £200k for the roof repair. Was this money well spent and was this the ideal opportunity to put a plan together for a new sports centre?
The actual fact is that Staffordshire County Council has owned the building and has neglected it for the last 5 years. Whilst the Conservatives were in control of Newcastle Borough Council they closed Knutton Recreation Centre and the Jubilee Pool. Labour has been working hard to keep the facilities open and this includes stepping in to fix problems when the county ignored them.
Now there is talk of the centre closing once Clough Hall Technology School begins a new build project on the same site. The fact remains that only Conservative controlled Staffordshire County Council can close Kidsgrove Sports Centre as they own it, but haven’t committed any cash past 2017 to keep it going when the agreement between Newcastle Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council and Clough Hall Technology School runs out.
We now turn to the Conservative Councillor Ben Adams who is currently the Conservative Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Stoke North and Kidsgrove. I would be happy to remind him that he sat in a meeting at Kidsgrove Town Hall in 2013 with Kidsgrove County Councillors Margaret Astle and John Taylor, the new Labour leader of Newcastle Borough Council Gareth Snell and the Chief Executive of Newcastle Borough Council John Sellgren. At this meeting it became known that Clough Hall School wanted to rebuild and this wouldn’t include the sports centre. Cllr Ben Adams who was then the Education Portfolio holder for Staffordshire County Council proclaimed it wasn’t his job to provide sports centres in Newcastle despite opposition from all those at the meeting. This was the perfect opportunity to rebuild the sports centre along with Clough Hall School. Instead the Tory administration ducked and dived to avoid paying a single penny out for this vital public service. Ben Adams has been instrumental in the destruction of public services across the County in recent years. These people simply cannot be trusted. Is Cllr Adams going to be our saviour and announce funding from the County Council as a little election sweetener?
Labours Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Stoke North and Kidsgrove, Ruth Smeeth said: “Kidsgrove residents deserve excellent public services at every level, including leisure facilities. Since 2010 the Tory government has slashed local council budgets, but in spite of this the Labour Party in Kidsgrove, and at Newcastle Borough Council, is determined to fight for every facility and for every penny to protect our public services. This is why I am supporting Cllr Kyle Robinson’s campaign to demand a new, enhanced, leisure centre in Kidsgrove, getting our fair share from Staffordshire County Council.”
I absolutely detest the blame game of politics and we are in a very unfortunate situation. The fact remains that Newcastle Borough Council will do all it can to ensure Kidsgrove has a new sports centre. The Council continues to push for a better facility. Here are the links to a recent report outlining Newcastle’s work for a new sports centre:
To sum up we need to put pressure on Staffordshire County Council to help fund a new Sports Centre. They have the funds to ensure Kidsgrove has modern facilities that we all rely on. They own the building so it is time for action!
Please sign the petition below:
On Wednesday 21st November I was invited to attend St George’s Park in Burton-upon-Trent. I attended the event with the Chairman of Staffordshire Moorlands district Council, Councillor Stephen Ellis who is keen on promoting sport in the community like me. St. George’s Park is the home of the new National Football Centre.
Set in the National Forest, in 330 acres of beautifully landscaped parkland, the centre is the training base for the 24 England teams and features 2 Hilton hotels.
St. George’s Park is also the home of FA Learning, The FA’s educational department. Through the delivery of national coach education courses, St. George’s Park will provide a platform for the communication of The Future Game philosophy, which outlines a vision for the development of English football.
The Future Game will be brought to life in the football centre which includes a full-sized indoor third generation football pitch equipped with a viewing gallery for up to 200 people, a 60mx40m multipurpose indoor sports hall, 11 full size outdoor pitches and one elite DESSO training pitch which is an exact replica of Wembley.
This £100 Million pound facility has been a god send for Burton and the surrounding areas including Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. The FA has made sure St George’s Park is something that will last for many future generations to come.
The evening was a huge success and plenty of people from across Staffordshire and beyond thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We got to listen to sporting heroes, Olympians and volunteers of the London Olympic 2012 that really made us proud to be British.
The question I asked myself was what do we need to do in Kidsgrove and Newcastle to attract funding on this scale and is it possible?
The simple answer is yes! With a lot of hard work and the political establishments of Newcastle Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council and Kidsgrove Town Council working together we could make a huge difference and achieve goals. But there has to be the will to achieve these goals and make us attractive to investors. The one thing we have going for us is you. The people of Staffordshire!
We have just waited 12 months for Staffordshire County Council to repair our Swimming Pool ceiling. Mainly because of organisations spending time arguing who should pay what? Well guess what top guys, we put you where you are to make a difference, to secure what we need to keep our communities healthy.
Kidsgrove baths were reopened on Saturday 17th November to a crowd of young people waiting for their free swim. And there you have what’s so important about this, young people. We have to keep fighting for better leisure facilities and more funding for the future generations of Kidsgrove and the wider area. We are a country facing a national obesity crisis whilst local councils are facing huge cuts from National Government. It’s time our Government whatever political persuasion realises that you can’t and never should put a price on the health of the young and elderly people of our community. Privatisation is not always the answer and in my opinion the local authority should always offer leisure facilities fit for purpose and of good quality. We deserve no less so I go away from this shouting even louder about how important this subject is. The political elite needs to change the attitude and do what’s in the best interests of the community because the famous saying goes; don’t try to pass the buck!
The swimming pool at Kidsgrove Sports Centre is ready to re-open to the public this weekend following the completion of essential repair works. And to tempt residents of all ages back into the centre the borough council is putting on some great free offers for both Saturday and Sunday.
Cllr Elsie Bates, portfolio holder with responsibility for culture and leisure at the borough council, said, “It is unfortunate that the pool has been closed to the public for so long but finally we are now in a position to welcome people back with the promise of some free fun.
“We hope that lots of people take us up on our re-opening offers and get back into some healthy habits. Swimming is one of the best ways of keeping fit as well as having great fun.
“For those who prefer not to dip their toes in we have a range of indoor and outdoor activities to suit all tastes and ages. We are inviting everyone along to try some free activities and to enjoy themselves.”
The bumper weekend of activities starts on Saturday, 17 November. Between 10am and 2pm, in the Sports Hall, there are trampoline and climbing wall taster sessions for all ages. Specifically for five to 11-year-olds there is a free ”Orbit” session between 12.30-4pm. This is a varied activity session which includes sports, games, face-painting, arts and craft.
Also available between 10am and 2pm, in the large swimming pool, there are free family swim sessions and a free fun session for all ages from 2-4pm.
The small pool is open from 10am and 4pm and is also free.
The Studio is hosting free taster sessions in spinning (1-1.40pm), circuits (2-2.40pm) and boxercise (3-3.40pm).
Outdoor activities take place on the synthetic pitches with two football development coaching drop-in sessions between 10-11am and 11am and noon.
Sunday, 18 November, sees free taster sessions in the sports hall for trampoline (10-11.30am), Taekwondo (12noon-2pm) and badminton “no strings” (2-4pm).
The small pool is free to all for a second day,from 10am to 4pm, and the large pool has family swimming from 10am-2pm, a fun session from 12noon-2pm and a sub-aqua taster session from 2-4pm.
In the Studio on Sunday there are taster sessions for circuits (12noon-12.45pm), boxercise (1-1.45pm) and spinning (2-2.45pm and 3-3.45pm).
For more information contact Kidsgrove Sports Centre on 01782 786162.
The Centre is owned by Staffordshire County Council and run by Newcastle Borough Council. Repairs to the roof amounted to around £200,000 and were funded by the County Council.