Horsham Gymnastics Centre has been forced to turn away its members this week after rain damage to its roof in a ‘body blow’ for the group.
While part of the leisure centre at Pavilions in the Park is operated by Places for People, the hall is rented from Horsham District Council by the gymnastics centre, with more than 1,000 children attending classes and sessions every week from 9.30am-8pm.
Steve Barritt, one of the founders and a director at the Horsham Gymnastics Centre, told the County Times that during renovation works on the building’s roof commissioned by the council, water has leaked through the ceiling, causing water and ceiling tiles to drop into the hall.
Because of safety concerns from falling roof tiles it has closed until the ceiling is fixed.
Mr Barritt said: “Obviously this is a body blow to everybody that we can’t open and it affects a lot of people in Horsham.
“We have had to turn away birthday parties over the weekend. We will open as soon as we can but it will take some time to do that.”
He added: “It’s just disruptive and it’s going to cost a lot of money to repair and it’s wasted resources.”
The centre’s gymnasts had just returned from the Sussex Championships at the K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley over the weekend and had ‘done really well’ according to Mr Barritt.
But after heavy rain the hall was left in a ‘mess’ with a massive sheet of tarpaulin hanging from the ceiling, while the floor was covered in debris from the ceiling and pools of water.
They are currently in discussions with HDC and are hoping the best scenario will allow them to reopen this weekend.
Mr Barritt added: “It would be really nice if we could open this weekend.”
Since it was established in 2001 the gymnastics centre has been hugely popular providing a range of different classes for gymnasts of all ages and abilities. Currently they have a nine-month long waiting list.
Mr Barritt added: “They [the gymnasts] will be disappointed and hopefully we will be open as soon as possible.”
A spokesperson for Horsham District Council said: “As part of the scheduled renovation works currently taking place at the Pavilions in The Park Leisure Centre, an inspection of the areas of flat roofing decking that sit between the roof arches above the gymnastics hall was undertaken.
“Once this area of roof decking was exposed it was found to be in a poor condition and it became difficult to make this particular section of roofing watertight.
“As a result, leaks appeared and a number of interior ceiling panels became waterlogged.
“For health and safety reasons the decision was taken to close the gymnastics hall until effective repairs could take place.
“Roofing contractors are currently undertaking this work and it is anticipated that the gymnastics hall will be open again in the next few days.
“Only those using the gymnastics hall are affected, all other areas of the Pavilions in the Park Leisure Centre are fully operational.”
For updates visit Horsham Gymnastics Centre’s website at www.hgc.org.uk
Have you been affected by the closure? Email the County Times at firstname.lastname@example.org call 01403 751200 or write to Editorial, County Times, Springfield House, Springfield Road, Horsham, RH12 2RG.