8th Dec, 2019

Clubs using Henley Sports Centre fear what its impending closure will mean for members

CLUBS using Henley Sports Centre fear what its impending closure will mean for members.

The site has been bought from Warwickshire College Group by Wasps Rugby Club with the team planning to use it as a training ground.

But worried groups have contacted the Observer concerned they will lose members if the plans go ahead.

It comes just weeks after wheelchair basketball team Warwickshire Bears voiced similar concerns.

For the past 12 years the centre has been used by CKMA Family Karate which has more than 300 people attending its weekly sessions.

Henley is one of several sites the martial arts group runs classes from across Coventry and Warwickshire, but instructor Zoe Rossborough says it is a popular group and moving would mean many stop coming.

She also said moving location would be ‘disastrous’ for those with special needs in the group who needed consistency.

Zoe told the Observer: “It would be so sad to have to potentially relocate and lose members of my organisation because of that. It would be a complete tragedy to everyone affected.

“I have students and parents panicking about losing the session in Henley, and after looking at alternatives there is nowhere else we can use that is viable.

“Wasps and Warwickshire College Group have in no way taken into account the local community.

“Myself and other long-standing groups and users are disgusted we had to find out through the media rather than being spoken to beforehand by the college.”

Her concerns have been echoed by Scorchin Pawz Flyball team – which sees a team of dog owners race their pets along hurdles to reach a tennis ball.

Club spokeswoman Michelle Cradock said: “This facility is so multi-functional and offers the local community such a broad and diverse range of clubs.

“Our club brings a multitude of dogs and handlers together weekly having fun, keeping fit and being a community. We are struggling to find a replacement venue that offer these inside capabilities for our team.

“Our team has been really impacted by this proposal, and contrary to what Wasps and WCG say it is not just a few people who are impacted by this. Henley Sports Centre serves so many.”

But WCG says alternatives have been offered.

A spokesman said: “We have been in regular conversation with CKMA Family Karate business and Scorchin Pawz Flyball.

“We understand it is a question of geography for CKMA Family Karate and they are in discussions with other providers in Henley.

“Scorchin Pawz have been offered our facilities at Moreton Morrell College and Leamington College and are consulting about whether the option at Leamington is viable.”

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