By Elliott Patrice –
The announcement of the temporary closure of Deighton Sports Arena caught many in the local community by surprise. Many were left without much idea of what to do next. However, this week has seen much activity from local community leaders, who have been working on ways to speak out against the closure.
Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL) announced the closure of two of their centres and a swimming pool until next March due to ‘rising costs’.
The closures will have a large impact on the local community, with many sports teams and local active groups needing to find alternative venues.
Since the announcement, local members came together to voice their concerns, raise awareness, and support those who have been impacted.
On Tuesday 13 December, local community leaders came together with people in the community of Deighton, to hold a meeting about KAL’s decision. The meeting consisted of gathering the public’s feelings on the closure, and contemplating how it would affect the community.
The meeting featured speeches from Basil Richards, one of the directors of the Deighton Into sports project and Ashbrow Councillors Amanda Pinnock and James Homewood.
KAL was approached and invited to the meeting, but no representatives attended.
After getting the chance to hear some of the public’s concerns, it was clear to see what the space means to the people of Deighton and the wider Ashbrow area.
Some of the comments from the attendees included: “Basketball is something Deighton is known for, it’s important to the people of the community” and “Deighton sports arena is the heart of the community for the young and the old”. These are the types of things the community are worried about.
The main issue on everyone’s lips was the lack of communication from KAL. When speaking about the volleyball team, one attendee stated: “I just can’t see how KAL has been able to make this decision without contacting any of the users.
“We are not the only team this affects. There are fixtures we need to play out. There is a league of teams affected by this decision.”
KLTV attended the meeting to discuss the closure of the Deighton Sports Arena
The rest of the meeting consisted of what the next steps would be moving forward.
Local community leaders are currently working with a solicitor to challenge the closure, by looking at whether or not KAL have followed every rule and law leading up to its decision to close.
There were also conversations about a potential community asset transfer, where the centre is instead put into the hands of the public to run and manage.
The group are working with other centres affected by this closure, like the Colne Valley Leisure Centre. As well as looking at creating a bank account for the centre and doing some fundraising. There was a need for more volunteers to take on some of the responsibilities at the centre.