Facilities needed

THE 50-plus group is not happy. On April 26, the County Times was pleased to be able to write that the BBH Leisure Centre report suggested moving some facilities, particularly for the 50-plus group, to the under-used Holbrook Club.

If only this was possible! While the Holbrook Club has good sporting facilities, it does not have a dance studio/exercise hall suitable for 25 people or a pilates hall suitable for 40, as the current BBHLC does (ironically called the HDC room).

If the current BBHLC was able to offer 50-plus another half or full day of sport/classes, I suspect most of the ‘Young at Heart’ group who play sport at Holbrook on a Monday would go there.

A drawback of the Holbrook Club is that it is ‘accidentally’ owned by Horsham Football Club, and if they get a place to play, will they keep it on? They didn’t want a sports club, they wanted a football ground.

One of the reasons the 50-plus club loves BBHLC is that you can do competitive/skill based sports OR enjoy a variety of classes, OR use the gym, and socialise.

Many people need some motivation to exercise, that’s why the Health Walks are so popular – you know you’re going to take a walk with like minded people, but at your own pace. That’s why dance, exercise, pilates etc classes are so popular – you know you’ll be led through exercises but can do them to your own level. If you remember that feeling of always being the last one to be picked for a team, you can enjoy exercise classes

The BBHLC options for consultation all have just one multi-purpose hall. The report says this could be used for dance/exercise classes, badminton, and the children’s holiday groups

In just that one sentence there are two contradictions. Where do the dance/exercise classes go during the school holidays? Currently 50-plus has to move from the dance studio to an unsuitable multi-purpose room.

Both a dance studio and badminton court need a sprung floor but the requirement for a dance studio with a good sound system, is not compatible with the high ceiling requirement for playing badminton.

One of the things the council commissioned study was meant to do was produce usage figures. Despite 50-plus providing them, and probably other users also, there are no such figures in the report. The conclusion that we have surplus multi-purpose halls is all based on theory.

There are plenty of statistics about sport, but none on classes. There is NO surplus of ‘pay-plus-play’ daytime dance/exercise studio space available to the general public (no membership requirement).

Dance/exercise classes are a growth area of leisure – it’s why Pavilions got built and it’s why Pavilions is always full. The council is rejecting an income stream if it does not build a suitable size dance studio at the replacement BBHLC.

I recommend the council to build, as a minimum, a facility with a dance studio AND a multi-purpose hall.

A. HEADS

Sloughbrook Close, Horsham