Squash court closure proposal set to be discussed by council

Councillors will discuss the plans at the district council headquaters

Councillors will discuss the plans at the district council headquaters - Credit: Archant

Huntingdonshire District Council has agreed to look again at a proposal to close the squash courts at the St Ives Outdoor Centre after a petition was handed to councillors.

Members of St Ivo Racquets Club, which makes use of the facilities, gathered 158 signatures from members and supporters, and presented the document to councillors at a meeting of the full council on May 15.

According to the petition, the club was told on March 22 that the decision had been made to close the four courts, with a "functional training facility" set to take their place.

In the petition, the club said: "The club was advised in a letter from One Leisure dated March 22, that the decision [to close the courts] had already been made by the council. The club has still to view any public records related to this decision.

"The club is extremely concerned about the lack of a public consultation process prior to this decision being made. Neither the club, representing the largest single group of players, nor individual users have been afforded an opportunity to present the case to continue supporting squash and racket ball facilities in St Ives.

"A functional training facility is proposed in place of the four squash courts. Neither a sporting nor business case for this change of use has been made public yet."

After the petition was put before councillors, however, it was agreed that the proposal would be further considered at a meeting of overview and scrutiny panel on June 13, with representatives from club invited to attend.

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A spokesman for the district council said the proposal to close the courts had been made following a review of the facilities and falling participation levels in the sport.

The spokesman said: "We are proud to be delivering council-led leisure options across our district and it is always sensible to keep reviewing leisure trends and usage of our facilities.

"This helps to ensure our leisure offer continues to stay relevant to fitness demands and that we are using our leisure buildings to best effect to maximise participation and the range of opportunities for our communities to be fit and well.

"There are falling trends in squash participation both nationally and locally, so options are being explored as to how we keep the St Ives Outdoor Centre most effective and efficient for leisure needs. All these issues, including the points raised in the petition from the rackets club, will be fully considered in reports to the overview and scrutiny panel and to cabinet in June when it can then be decided what the best activities are to deliver from that facility."