Cash-strapped Clayton Sports Centre 'faces closure within 18 months'
A POPULAR sports centre could be closed down if cash can’t be secured to carry out repairs.
Clayton Sports Centre would have to shut within 18 months unless applications for funding are successful.
The facility, which is used by 35,000 people a year, needs £250,000 of investment for a replacement roof and other improvements.
Newcastle Borough Council, which owns the land on which the sports centre stands, is in the process of making grant applications to a number of sporting bodies, including the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Sport England.
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Officers say they are confident the funding will be secured, but spell out the consequences if they are unsuccessful.
The centre is owned and operated as a charitable trust by Stone and District Sports Association, which is 42 years into a 100-year lease for the site.
It is used for a range of sports, including badminton, cricket and football.
The sports centre, which has a five-court sports hall, spectator gallery, changing rooms and a kitchen, dates back to the 1970s.
Work now needs to be carried out on the sports hall roof and the changing rooms.
A report to Newcastle Borough Council cabinet states: “Should the grant applications for funding not be successful it is possible that SDSA would have to consider winding up the operation of the sports centre in the event of building failure. The centre could therefore revert back into the council’s ownership. At this point the council could become liable for the holding/demolition costs of the sports centre estimated to be in the region of £40,000.”
Jason Britton, SDSA trustee and a director of Staffordshire Cricket, said: “Clayton Sports Centre has been huge for cricket in the north of Staffordshire, ever since it was first built 40 years ago. Indoor cricket is played there, and it’s used for winter training as well.
“But it is showing its age now, and the roof does need replacing. Because we’ve engaged with the borough council we could soon be in a position to ensure the centre continues for another 40 years. The borough council will be able to get up to £150,000 from Sport England.
“If we applied ourselves we’d just be able to get a maximum of £50,000, which wouldn’t be nearly enough.”
The centre is also a base for Staffordshire County Badminton Association.
Frances Steele, results secretary for the North Staffs badminton league, said: “It would be terrible if it closed down.
"We have been using it since it was first built 40 years ago.”
Cabinet members will discuss Clayton Sports Centre at their meeting next Wednesday.