On Christmas Eve 2018, Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), operators of the Gosling sports complex in Welwyn Garden City, quietly announced that a decision had been made to close the sports hall and associated facilities at Gosling Sports Park at the end of March.
Liberal Democrat Cllrs Nigel Quinton and Siobhan Elam, County and Borough Councillors respectively, are shocked and disappointed at the news. Nigel commented: “As Hertfordshire’s Year of Physical Activity draws to a close we learn that a sports hall that was only upgraded four years ago, and which is subject to development agreements of 15 years, will be closed without any consultation whatsoever. The operators GLL are letting down our community dreadfully. Gosling is a much loved facility that has served the people of WGC and more widely, for very many years. As owners of the facility, what are the Council doing? The heart of the town’s leisure provision is being ripped out without a word or a care.
“It was bad enough that the council has put forward the ski slope and golf range for housing in its flawed Local Plan – again with little or no consultation with users, and with no proper analysis of the impact of the loss of such facilities, especially the pretty much irreplaceable ski slope. Now we learn that the site could reduce to simply the newer, presumably most profitable, parts of the site. It is a bombshell for local residents and the wider sports community.
“At a time when central government talks the talk on public health, but is cutting its budget by another 5% next year, this is just another example of the hypocrisy of the Conservatives in control of both central and local government, who are failing to provide the infrastructure our communities need to live healthy lives.”
Commenting further, LibDem council group leader Malcolm Cowan said “We don’t believe the council can just wash its hands and say ‘nothing to do with us’. Gosling is at the heart of local leisure provision. We are not going to stand by and let it get wiped away”.
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