Welwyn Garden City’s Gosling sports hall to stay open on reduced timetable during spring

PUBLISHED: 16:48 28 February 2019 | UPDATED: 13:20 01 March 2019

Gosling Sports Park. Picture: Danny Loo

Gosling Sports Park. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

The closure of a Welwyn Garden City sports hall has been delayed as talks to rescue it continue.

On Christmas Eve, GLL announced it would be closing the sports hall at Gosling Sports Park at the end March.

The announcement left many user of the hall shocked and disappointed.

MORE: Sports hall closure announcement shock

But today, Welwyn Hatfield Council leader Tony Kingsbury told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “Since December’s announcement by GLL to close Gosling Sports Hall we have expressed our concern, and significant disappointment, over their decision.

“We had been meeting with GLL and the Save Gosling Group - now Gosling Sports and Social Enterprise (GSSE) - to see how the facilities could be kept open in the future.

“GLL’s confirmation that the sports hall will continue operating on a reduced timetable until the end of June 2019 is a step in the right direction and welcome news for residents, and we are pleased that GLL are continuing to work with GSSE.

“We understand that further discussions will now take place, but the extension of the proposed closure date to allow those discussions to happen is clearly a positive step.

“We very much hope that a way can be found to keep the facility open in the longer term.”

A spokesperson for GLL said: “GLL are working in partnership with community groups to look at options for keeping the Gosling Sports Hall Building open beyond March 2018.

“To give all parties more time to explore the possibilities, we have committed to keeping the Gosling Sports Hall Building Open till the end of June 2019 on a reduced timetable operating evenings and weekends only.

“We remain hopeful a practical solution will be found and one which enables community users to continue using the Sports Hall building and that it does not run at a loss.

“GLL is a not-for-profit, charitable leisure social enterprise that’s committed to providing a leisure service in Welwyn for many years to come.”

In December GLL explained that the closure was so that it could “prioritise allocating resources into other facilities in the sports park which can better serve a wider range of people and are sustainable over time”.

But people using the sports hall complained about the lack of someone on reception and as a result not being able to pay for sessions.

They warned: “If you allow this issue to continue you won’t have a business to run and could potentially result in closing the centre.”

Complaints were also made about a lack of maintenance of the sports hall, the men’s changing rooms and showers.

In December, a GLL spokesman told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “As we operate a cashless facility, customers no longer require a full-time receptionist and this releases staff to serve customers throughout the centre – including booked activities.

“Customer service and safety is of paramount importance so there is always someone in centre if help is needed and our duty manager’s number is prominently displayed.”

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