Wokingham residents campaign against potential 'heartbreaking' closure of 'vital' leisure centre

  • Users of the Leisure Centre have been speaking to ITV News Meridian's Mel Bloor

A campaign is underway to save a leisure centre in Wokingham from potential closure.

A public consultation on the future use of St Crispin's Leisure Centre was launched due to falling usage which Wokingham Borough Council says has got worse since the opening of a new leisure centre at the Carnival Hub last year.

The consultation includes five potential uses of the site, one of which includes demolishing and mothballing it until land values increase.

Those who use St Crispin's regularly say it's more than just a leisure centre and is a vital amenity for the community.

St Crispin's Leisure Centre faces possible closure and even demolition Credit: ITV News Meridian

Andy Whiteley has been running Taekwondo classes from St Crispin's Leisure Centre for the last 30 years.

If the centre were to close, he fears he will lose a lot of business.

Andy said: "If I was to move even 15 minutes down the road towards Woodley or Bracknell or somewhere like that, the industry we're in - people just stop because it's not convenient for them to travel and therefore they stop.

"We would be significantly affected if we had to move venue."

  • Sian Carr regularly uses the gym at St Crispin's

Nick Dyer, who plays squash at the centre, said: It's a community here. We get on with people who go to the gym, play badminton here.

"There's a lot of friendships among the squash players, we go on holiday together, we've been around Europe playing squash.

"If this centre closes, it's the end of the last two public squash courts in Wokingham Borough."

In a statement, a spokesperson for Wokingham Borough Council said: "We would like to stress this is a consultation and no decision has been made. The council has invested significantly in leisure facilities in recent years (£52.9 million) and will continue to do so - this is not a cost cutting exercise, it is about ensuring the best use for the site."

The consultation runs until the 23rd of August.

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