Sport England’s ‘concern’ about Leisure Futures Study

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SPORT England does not endorse the Leisure Futures Study and has ‘expressed concern’ to the council about the ‘apparent inappropriate use of its tools and misinterpretation or confused use of data’.

The body was contacted when it appeared the consultant’s £6,000 report used its Sports Facility Calculator, meant for determining leisure requirements caused by new developments and not for strategic gap purposes.

Phillipa Sanders, relationship manager, facilities and planning at Sport England, said: “As far as I am aware Sport England was not consulted during the Horsham Leisure Futures Study and does not endorse the report.

“As you have noted there does appear to be flaws in the report and I have expressed concern to the council about the apparent inappropriate use of Sport England tools and misinterpretation or confused use of data.”

The latest criticism of the study is part of a report prepared by clubs, organisations and stakeholders with an interest in Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre sent out to Horsham district councillors urging no decision is made at Wednesday’s meeting.

The Conservative group of Horsham District Council are due to meet tonight (Monday December 19) and it is hoped the report will influence their decision.

‘The Group’ has called for a thorough review of options, a full and open consultation and engagement programme involving all users and stakeholders and that a group is established to undertake the review and representatives of users should be invited to participate.

Members want an initial report to include all ‘key and correct information on usage and feedback and input from users and a review of good practice case studies to inform debate and discussion.

The report said: “In the interim, the existing facilities should be retained and no decisions should be made now to jeopardise future provision and plans.

“All options should remain open, including refurbishment and local relocation.

“Any relocation would require that existing facilities remain and continue to operate until a new provision is available to maintain continuity of provision and ensure that clubs and organisations established over many years survive.”