Harrogate Borough Council have said that following further negotiations with Rosset School, the Rossett Sports Centre will remain open open for public use.
Harrogate Borough Council will pull-out from the operation of the facility and provide a one-off grant to the School to allow them to continue running the facility.
Rossett Sports Centre is used by Rossett School during school hours with hours outside this, including weekends was being managed for community use by the Council. This arrangement was facilitated through a joint service agreement.
The school was given notice by Harrogate Borough Council on 17 January 2014 that they wished to terminate the joint service agreement for the Sports Centre with effect from 22 July 2014. This decision meant that Harrogate Council would vacate the Sports Centre on that date.
The Council has sought to distance themselves from the reality that withdrawal of their funding meant that the facility would likely close for general public use, despite great efforts from the school looking at options.
At a full Council meeting this evening (16 July 2014) Harrogate Council announced that the sports centre will remain open for the public.
The announcement followed a question from Cllr Pat Marsh asking how the Council would meet a health and well-being plan.
Cllr Pat Jones, Council’s Cabinet Member for Cultural Services, responded by saying that Cllr Marsh was putting petty politics and point scoring before facts and that it had never been said that the facility would close.
On-site management and reception facilities will transfer from the Council to the school on Tuesday 22 July 2014.
The Council say that the changes will deliver financial savings for the council, allowing resources to be devoted to expanding its leisure programme within the community.
As part of the handover, the council will provide Rossett School with an undisclosed grant towards the refurbishment of the sports centre.
The sports coaching and activity programme at Rossett Sports Centre will continue to be provided by Harrogate Borough Council, but will transfer to the Jennyfield Styan Centre. It is not clear if this will result in a reduction in the programmes offered during peak times.
From Friday 23 July 2014, the all-weather pitch will come under the responsibility of the school, including management, rather than the council through an extension to the lease. Previously the Council had said they were continuing to operate the pitches themselves.
Time-line of events
- 17 Sept 2013 – Harrogate Borough Council announce they are looking at the future of the centre
- 17 Jan 2014 – Harrogate Borough Council said they were terminating agreement with Rossett
- 20 May 2014 – Rossett School confirms that it has exhausted all options and the facility will close for public use
- 16 July 2014 – Harrogate Council agree a one-off payment to the School to allow them to take the facility on
The withdrawal of joint working at Rossett follows a policy where arrangements have been terminated at Harrogate High School, Boroughbridge High School and Knaresborough’s King James School.
Councillor Richard Cooper, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council said: There has been some speculation recently that community access to Rossett Sports Centre would cease with the council’s withdrawal from the Joint Management Agreement. I am pleased to say that those saying the sports centre would close were incorrect and that the council and Rossett School have been working together to ensure that this is not the case. The sports centre will remain open to the community and continue to provide a wide range of sports for visitors both young and old. The important thing here isn’t management agreements or who runs what. It is keeping the facilities available for users and that, through working with our partners at Rossett School, is what we have done.
Pat Hunter, Head Teacher at Rossett School said: I am delighted that, as well as having the opportunity to develop the sports facilities for our own students, we are able to ensure community use continues at Rossett Sports Centre. Our aim is to carry out a smooth transfer so that people can continue using the facilities in the similar way they always have. Now that a grant has been agreed with Harrogate Borough Council, we will be able to improve the facilities on offer and make sure they are suitable for school and community use in the future.