A Horsham athletics club has welcomed the imminent reopening of indoor sports facilities at Broadbridge Heath.
The new Bridge Leisure Centre opened in October 2018 meaning the former facility next door could be demolished.
The closure of the former centre also meant the loss of all but 30 metres of the indoor athletics facility known as ‘The Tube’.
However the reduced tube is now set to reopen and this has been welcomed by Horsham Blue Star Harriers.
In a statement Keith May, the club’s chairman, and club president Ian Cribb said: “Obviously whilst we would have preferred to retain the complete tube, with its 50m indoor track, the new area will at least allow us to have somewhere to use for weight training and circuit training as well as enabling use for the technical events such as hurdles, with a surface that takes a spiked shoe.
“It is also somewhere for us to use in inclement weather, as there is no available time on our training evenings for us to be able to use the sports hall in the Bridge Leisure Centre, which in any case does not have a surface where spiked shoes can be worn.
“The tube building also provides the necessary secure storage facilities for our equipment.
“Importantly it has trackside WCs which, given our thriving junior membership, are essential to ensure we can readily comply with the necessary safeguarding requirements.
“The club is pleased to have this facility to supplement the already excellent outdoor track at Broadbridge Heath, with all the necessary track and field facilities to enable us to host quality meetings, with a good PA System, covered and uncovered spectator and athlete seating area, and a results and announcers room.
“The track, having been cleaned and remarked two years ago, not only is in better condition but also provides facilities superior to many of the tracks in Sussex and further afield. Visiting athletes from all over the south always enjoy competing there.
“Being at Broadbridge Heath allows the Club to continue to grow, having increased our membership from under 100 to 250 members since being based there in 1985, with a large increase in the number of Under 18s.”They described how being based at Broadbridge Heath allows the club to grow and the location means it can attract members from not only Horsham, who can walk or cycle to the venue, but also from all over the district, with the A24 giving easy access from the South Downs villages and the A29 from Billingshurst.
The club also has members from Cranleigh and the surrounding area in Surrey.
The location also allows the Harriers’ road running groups to safely train on the well-lit pavements around the town.
They added: “It is important for the continued development of athletics in Horsham district that we maintain an easily accessible location, with parents understandably having to chauffeur their children to differing sports clubs/organisations. Having the track at Broadbridge Heath fulfils this requirement.”