Petition launched to save Garstang sports centre

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A PETITION calling for Garstang leisure centre not to be axed has been launched in the town.

A question mark continues to hang over the future of the sports base after a watchdog group of councillors said it was costing too much to run and wanted to see it closed, and the borough’s leisure boss revealed its facilities could be transferred to Garstang Academy, and other venues in the town.

This week a campaign was launched, with petitions at various business premises in Garstang calling for the retention of the facility.

Wyre Council says the move is premature.

The petition, organsed by a J Field of Burlingham Park, Cabus, calls for the Windsor Road leisure centre, run for the council by the YMCA, to be left alone.

It reads: “We strongly oppose any plans to use Garstang Academy in the evenings and local halls for daytime events as it would represent a significant reduction in both the quality and standard of service.”

Details of the council’s views were revealed in August by cabinet member Lynne Bowen.

She said talks had begun with the school to see if the sports facilities there could be opened up to community use.

She said the school also had a dance studio available and added: “that would be the best use for Garstang.”

Other leisure activities not moved to the school could be moved to “another venue in Garstang” according to Coun Bowen.

She told the meeting councillors were aware of the “astronomical costs” of the borough’s leisure centres adding Garstang centre was “under performing.”

Publicity over Coun Bowen’s comments prompted the council to issue a statement saying they would consult with the public, adding, “whatever the outcomes of that consultation, facilities will be enhanced rather than reduced.”

The council stressed “no decisions will be made without full public consultation which is likely to start at some point in the current financial year.”

Asked this week about the petition, Wyre Council said it welcomed feedback, but “on this occasion the petition seems to be against an issue that is not yet being discussed.”

It added: “There are currently no plans to close Garstang Sports Centre. As we have said before, we are aiming to carry out a review of the borough’s leisure facilities at some point in this financial year and public consultation will be a big part of this.

“This will be the appropriate time for the community to express their views.”