01:00PM, Friday 08 March 2019
A gymnastics club attended by hundreds of people will soon have nowhere to go due to the upcoming closure of Montem Leisure Centre.
Slough Gymnastics Club is due to move out of its Montem Lane site on Sunday, ahead of the leisure centre’s closure at noon on Sunday, March 24.
The Montem Leisure Centre site is due to be re-developed into housing and a new leisure centre in Farnham Road, The Centre, is due to open on Monday, March 25.
The gymnastics club, which has been running since 2010, was originally based in the Slough Trading Estate until its owner SEGRO said in 2017 that it could no longer provide a site due to redevelopment.
The club contacted Slough Borough Council (SBC) asking for help and was given a temporary home at Montem Leisure Centre in April last year.
Head coach Amy Jones says the club understood that SBC would build them a permanent home
by expanding Cippenham Community Centre, but planning officers said this would be unlikely to be approved due to the extension being on a floodplain.
SBC offered sites for the club to rent but Miss Jones says they were either too expensive or too small.
The 44-year-old said The Centre is too small for the club, which had 468 members in January but has seen membership drop due to its uncertain future.
Asked if she would consider reducing her club’s intake, Miss Jones said: “We would have to say to certain children that you can’t come anymore. They would feel like they’re not good enough.”
She added: “I don’t want to slate people because they [SBC] tried to help but their help hasn’t resulted in any kind of result and that’s what I’m upset about.”
Offers from private landlords have so far proved too expensive, with some offering facilities for £240,000 a year, more than three times the club’s budget, she said.
Miss Jones wants a site to be built in one of Slough’s parks, saying it would support SBC’s strategies to encourage exercise and promote the use of green spaces.
A SBC spokeswoman said planning regulation would be unlikely to allow for such a large site in a park.
She added: “The date of Montem closing was known when they took up our temporary offer and the club was always aware the new leisure centre would not accommodate them.
“We have continued to help them in their search and I very much hope they can find premises suitable for their requirements after Montem closes.”
Those wanting to offer permanent or temporary sites can contact Amy@SloughGymnastics.co.uk to discuss details.
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