A Harrogate Borough Council spokesperson today sought to correct misleading reports that community access to the sports facilities at Rossett School are about to cease.
The current management arrangements were introduced at a time when the school and its facilities were under Local Education Authority control. Now that academy status has been achieved, we understand the school wishes to have greater say over how the leisure facilities, which they own, are used and managed.
Harrogate Borough Council has also been keen to review the arrangements in the face of changing patterns of demand, an expansion of leisure facilities and services provided by the private sector, and increasing pressure on local authority budgets.
Negotiations have been underway for some time and during the discussions it has become clear that the school would not wish to continue with the current model of operation.
As a consequence, the management of Rossett Sports Centre (including on-site management and reception facilities for the sports hall) will revert back to the school from 23rd July 2014.
We are unaware of any decision by the school to close the sports centre to public use. We hope the school will continue to make the facilities available for the community outside of school hours, but this will be a decision for the school, not the council.
The coaching and community activity programmes that the council currently provide will transfer to one of the council’s other leisure facilities in Harrogate. We will be notifying the individuals and clubs affected of the new arrangements in the very near future.
The most popular leisure facility at the sports centre, the artificial sports pitch, is not covered by the management agreement. Harrogate Borough Council will continue managing the pitch, and will offer it for community use for the remainder of our current lease (to January 2015), and beyond if we are able to renew.
All staff affected have been informed of the changes and there is no truth in recent suggestions that redundancy notices have been issued. We are currently looking at all available options including the possibility of reassigning staff to other sites.
We are doing all that we can to ensure that the activity currently delivered from the site, and which is most valued by the community, is able to continue whatever decision the school takes.