Councilor calls on Kirklees to keep sport in Spen

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A Spen councillor has called on Kirklees Council to pledge an extra £10 million to ensure the future of sport in Spen.

With the closure of Cleckheaton’s Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre looming, Coun Kath Pinnock fears that unless significant investment is made, Spen could be left without a sports hall.

Kirklees has already promised to invest £4.65m to rebuild the ageing Spen Pool, and councillors from all parties feel that the Princess Mary complex could provide an ideal location for a brand new sports centre to replace Whitcliffe Mount.

Coun Pinnock and her fellow Cleckheaton ward councillors have vowed to fight for every penny to ensure sports facilities will remain in the Spen Valley, and want the council to promise not to turn its back on the area.

She said: “I don’t see why they can’t commit to this, especially as they are spending £35 million on a new sports centre in Huddersfield.

“We wouldn’t need anything like that amount of money to fund both the pool and a sports hall, it would be closer to £10 million.”

Spen pool was granted funding last June to help rebuild the site, but councillors said at the time at least another £4 million would be needed.

In December, the council announced it would close Whitcliffe Mount Sports centre by the end of 2016. The closure has been prompted by the planned demolition and re-building of the adjoining Whitcliffe Mount School.

Coun John Lawson said he did not think the Whitcliffe Mount site would be viable for a new sports centre, but that merging Spen Pool with a brand new sports centre at the Princess Mary site would create a new state-of-the-art facility.

He said: “We need to start looking into this as soon as possible – the council needs to fund a proper feasibility study this year.”

When the closure of Whitcliffe Mount was announced, Coun David Sheard, deputy leader of Kirklees Council, said: “As the site is in the centre of the Spen Valley on a main road, and can be easily accessed by everybody, I think we should look into the possibility of having the facility on the site of Spen Pool.”