Residents are desperate for a compromise over a decision for a leisure centre building to return back to a school in the area.
Broxtowe Borough Council have issued a statement on the future of Kimberley Leisure Centre that will be used for the benefit of pupils instead, and open to the public on evening and weekends.
Kimberley School will now control the land and the buildings as the Joint Use Agreement for Kimberley Leisure Centre between the East Midlands Education Trust and Broxtowe Borough Council comes to an end on April 22, 2022.
A Facebook group, named The Kimberly Leisure Centre Protection Group, was set up in the first lockdown as the school tried to regain control of the property.
The group has nearly 3,000 members as they monitor the ongoing developments relating to East Midlands Education Trust’s decision.
Jane Swallow, 47, from Brinsley, had been going to the centre for 21 years and is a member of the group.
She said: “It is a well used group, people are very vocal on it and we feel very strongly.
“It’s a thriving hub for the community, it is a massive range of people that use it.
“After lockdown, it was really important for people to come, people were in tears when they were back in the class.
“There is just a massive feeling of love for the place and we are all friends.
“People come here for these groups and it is the only thing they do in the day.
“I would just like a compromise.”
Many of the classes people regularly attend are in the daytime, including sessions to help people who have suffered with heart conditions and rehabilitation classes.
She added: “Pensioners use the classes in the daytime, there are a massive amount of over 65 users here.
“It’s more than a centre, it is really important.
“People who have had to isolate or the elderly come to their daytime classes, they really need it.
“I just don’t understand why it can’t continue like this.”
Pat Collins, 77, retired, regularly attends classes and has used the centre for years.
She said: “I go to a class particularly aimed at the older age groups.
“People who are retired, are free all day everyday and that is when we want to go out to classes, we don’t want to be getting a bus after dark.
“I would really miss it if I couldn’t go to my morning class, when everyone found out we were all quite upset.
“Our feeling is quite strong, it’s heart-breaking.
“It is seen as a community centre but now it’s getting limited, it’s not fair.”
The decision was made on Wednesday, September 29.
Zoe Attenborough, 26, civil servant, explained the impact the leisure centre has had on her life.
She said: “It’s is an absolute staple to my day to day life.
“It helped me turn my life around and made me be the person I am today.
“I do everything – classes, gym, swim.
“It would be such a loss to the community.”
Another user, Jane Sloan, 53, uses the facility primarily in the day time and explained how she will have to find somewhere else to go.
She said: “It is particularly upsetting for myself as I can only go in the day, it has a knock on effect for me.
“I’m going to really miss it, I usually go four times a week.
“It’ll affect pensioners and shift workers especially.
“It’ll be so busy in the evenings, it’s going to be difficult, especially with Covid restrictions.
“It’s a real shame and hopefully we can have a compromise.”
Andrew George, Head Teacher of Kimberly School, said: “We are aware of concerns in some areas of the community about access to the leisure facilities from April next year.
“The joint statement that was issued by Broxtowe Borough Council and ourselves on September 29 set out that we are working closely with the Council and Liberty Leisure to plan for a smooth transition for community access next year.
“The first meeting has already taken place and these concerns were discussed. We do understand that this an unsettling time for the users of the leisure centre.
“However, as the joint statement sets out we are determined to continue to enable the community to access the sporting and leisure facilities outside of school hours. We will continue to update the community on our plans as we prepare for April 2022.”
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