11:51AM, Friday 26 April 2019
The council says it is ‘trying its best’ to help identify a new home for Slough Gymnastics Club (SGC).
The future of the club has been uncertain since the closure of Montem Leisure Centre last month, where it was accommodated temporarily following its exit from Slough Trading Estate.
At a Slough Borough Council (SBC) full council meeting at The Curve on Tuesday, SGC head coach Amy Jones made a speech to councillors calling for a new home.
A petition – signed by over 1600 people – was presented to the council asking it to provide the club with a location to teach its members.
“We believe that Slough Gymnastics should remain a valuable part of Slough’s leisure strategy,” she said at the meeting.
“In early 2018, the trading estate was due to be redeveloped and we moved into Montem. Last month, Montem closed and we are now homeless.”
After a packed public gallery broke into applause, council leader Cllr James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green) told them that SBC ‘has been working to find a solution’ by offering a range of sites.
One of the key ideas was to expand Cippenham Community Centre in Earls Lane, but strict new Environment Agency rules prevented this.
There is also a meeting next Monday of the trustees of Thames Valley Athletics Centre (TVAC) to see if it can accommodate the club.
“The club’s requirements are very technical and specific: a sprung floor, particular heights, and we don’t own buildings in any great number that have those facilities,” Cllr Swindlehurst said at the William Street meeting.
“The problem for the council is we are trying to deliver a leisure strategy that benefits everyone, but you can’t accommodate every private club and business in that strategy because the numbers are much larger than the facilities we own.
“We have offered Langley pavilion, seven different commercial units of various sizes and prices that we have identified as in theory being big enough.
“We have offered Montem continued opening with just the club as a tenant, while we did all the other work on that site. But the price to keep that building open just for one tenant was exorbitant.
“This is a hard exercise, we are trying our best to help and we will continue to try and identify sites to help the club.”
Cllr Robert Anderson (Lab, Britwell and Northborough) said at the meeting: “We wanted to do everything we could for them, which is why we made Montem available.
“That search hasn’t been confined to our leisure staff – it has been our property staff, and all other parts of the council.
“We continue to do that, that hasn’t stopped.
“If only this had happened much earlier, we would have been delighted to have built it into our new centre in Farnham Road, or the Ice Arena. It would have been perfect.
“But it was too late, those buildings were already under construction.
“It doesn’t mean we are not still looking. There is a meeting next week of the trustees at TVAC. We will see how that pans out.
“We have shown our commitment to leisure and activities. We want to continue that. We continue to help the club in their search for a facility.”
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