Racket over badminton court closure proposal
PUBLISHED: 14:58 05 August 2009 | UPDATED: 10:56 23 August 2010
ANGRY badminton players have blasted plans to reduce the number of courts at a leisure centre to make way for a gym. The proposals for Cascades Leisure Centre, Thong Lane, Gravesend, will see the number of courts reduced from six to just three. Gravesha
ANGRY badminton players have blasted plans to reduce the number of courts at a leisure centre to make way for a gym.
The proposals for Cascades Leisure Centre, Thong Lane, Gravesend, will see the number of courts reduced from six to just three.
Gravesham Borough Council, and Gravesham Community Leisure Limited which manage the leisure centre, say the current fitness suite needs to be upgraded to ensure the long-term viability of the centre and this would mean converting three courts in the main hall.
Ann Frondigoun, of Sidar Strand, Gravesend, is a regular player at the centre. She said: "Like a lot of other people I am passionate about the sport and am so annoyed at this decision.
"There has been no information about what is happening and it has angered a lot of the users of the sports hall.
"We have been told we could use other facilities, like Cygnets, but I am a local resident and I don't drive.
"The courts are always busy during the evenings and often you phone up and can't get a court. I have paid my membership, what is going to happen when the number of courts go down to three?"
Donna Smith, of Gargary Close, Gravesend, added: "I really feel that this decision is detrimental to the community. These facilities give all age groups the chance to play badminton, they have members from 16 years old, up to 80 years old.
"There is the social aspect as well. It's like community spirit has gone."
Another of the players, Lynn Hampson, of Telegraph Hill, Higham, started a petition to get the lighting improved in the main hall, but has now been told that they will address the issue during the work.
She added: "Badminton is an Olympic sport and they are cutting down the number of courts. It seems ridiculous."
A spokesperson for the council said: "Gravesham Borough Council and Gravesham Community Leisure Limited together are planning to improve Cascades and Cygnet leisure centres to ensure its long-term viability and to meet the clear demand for more and better fitness facilities, particularly at Cascades.
"The present main hall would need to be altered to house these facilities and this could entail reducing the number of badminton courts, possibly from six to three although these would have very much improved lighting.
"Club bookings should not be affected by any proposed change although there may be some pressure on availability for casual bookings. The council and GCLL are looking at alternative venues for badminton courts including local schools.