More than 1,000 sign petition to save Welwyn Garden City sports hall

PUBLISHED: 10:33 02 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:52 02 January 2019

A petition has been set up to save the sports hall at Gosling Sports Park from closure. Picture: Danny Loo

A petition has been set up to save the sports hall at Gosling Sports Park from closure. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition to save a Welwyn Garden City sports hall from closure.

Just before Christmas, GLL announced that the sports hall at Gosling Sports Park would be closing on March 31 because it was “prioritising allocating resources into other facilities at the sports park”.

This was met with shock and anger by those who use the hall.

Since then, a petition to ‘Save Gosling Sport Hall from Closing Down’ has been set up on www.change.org, attracting more than 1,000 supporters in just four days.

The campaign to save the hall is being run by Melissa Davey, along with other colleagues and users of the hall.

The campaigners have also set up a Facebook page in the hope of pressuring GLL into reversing the decision.

Melissa helps run TheDKWay Badminton Academy (a junior elite academy), which uses the hall and hires 23 hours of court time per week.

She also runs Badminton England Sanctioned Tournaments at Gosling, which draw competitors from all over the country.

Last year, Melissa organised seven tournaments at the hall.

Melissa said: “Devastated is an understatement.

“We’re the biggest subscribers of the hall and we’ve been given very little acknowledgement.

“We received an email before Christmas. They haven’t had the decency to talk to us or offer us alternatives.

“The hall at Gosling is booked out solidly every night of the week.

“We tried to run tournaments for the whole weekend at the facility but I was told we couldn’t have it on Saturday because they have No Strings Badminton, which is a drop-in session and no-one was paying [due to the unmanned reception], but we could have paid £500 for the whole booking.”

A spokesperson for GLL said: “We have been clear and given advanced notice about the reasons for the sports hall closure so we are now looking at how best to mitigate the decision for users by relocating their activities.

“The sports park must be run on a sustainable basis, allowing for the re-investment that provides for maintenance, improvement and brings in future customers.

“As a social enterprise, we have responsibilities above and beyond those of private leisure operators – including a commitment to provide affordable leisure facilities that re-invest surpluses into the community through concessions, community sports development and our Sport Foundation.

“We won’t run at a loss so it’s important to allocate our resources efficiently and effectively. No decision has been taken regarding the dry ski facilities.

“The changes we are making are designed to ensure the long term viability of the Gosling Sports Park for generations to come.”

In response to the complaints about the unmanned reception, GLL has previously explained that the centre is operated as a “cashless facility” and a duty manager is always available to help if needed.

To view the petition, visit https://www.change.org/p/gll-better-gsp-save-gosling-sport-hall-from-shutting-down

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