Rossett Sports Centre will stay open for community use when management transfers from Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) to Rossett School next week.
The announcement comes after the school said it was unable to step in to continue community use of the facility when the joint management agreement (JMA) between HBC and Rossett ends on Tuesday, July 22.
When the council announced their withdrawal from the agreement earlier this year, Rossett headteacher Pat Hunter said the school could not take over the facility because doing so would have a ‘significant adverse affect’ on its educational funding.
However, after negotiations concerning community access to the centre, HBC and Rossett School have reached an understanding which ensures the public will still be able to use the facilities.
This includes the council providing the school with a grant towards the refurbishment of the centre, ensuring it is suitable for community use.
Ms Hunter 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 HBC, we will be able to improve the facilities on offer and make sure they are suitable for school and community use in the future.”
The current arrangements, under the JMA, were introduced when the school and its facilities were under Local Education Authority control. According to HBC, since the school achieved academy status the JMA is no longer fit for purpose.
The changes now made to the agreement give the school full control of the sports centre and the freedom to develop more flexible community provision, and under the new arrangement the council will save money.
HBC leader Coun Richard Cooper (Con) 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.”
There are also several other changes affecting the centre as a result of the new agreement between the council and the school.
The sports coaching and activity programme at the centre will continue to be provided by HBC, but will transfer to the Jennyfield Styan Centre.
And the all-weather pitch, which is the most intensively used facility, will be managed by the school from July 23, though it was unaffected by the council’s withdrawal from the JMA. This measure is in place of the council extending its lease of the pitch.
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