Stoke Heath sports centre 'will not close'

A charity-run sports centre says it will not close after a report claimed it was not "fit for purpose".

A report commissioned by Shropshire Council claimed the Maurice Chandler Sports Centre in Stoke Heath "may cease to operate in the short term".

But centre chairman Pete Waters said the building was "sound itself" and council leader Keith Barrow described the facility as "fantastic".

The Strategic Leisure company stood by its report.

Plan for future

Mr Waters said to his knowledge the firm had not been at the site.

But a spokesperson for Strategic Leisure said it visited the centre before the report was written 18 months to two years ago.

The council commissioned the report into leisure facilities in the county after it became a unitary authority so it could plan for the future.

The report claimed in the north of Shropshire there would be a deficiency of sports halls by 2019, given that the Maurice Chandler centre was "not fit for purpose" and could close.

'Great supporter'

The site on Warrant Road in Stoke Heath in the Market Drayton area includes football, badminton and tennis and has served the community since the 1960s.

Mr Waters admitted the centre "does want some TLC inside", but it was being improved "all the time".

He said: "[There are] four retired businessmen on the committee and we're all of the opinion we can make this place work and it'll still be there in 2019."

Mr Barrow, leader of the Conservative-controlled authority, said he was "a great supporter of what they're doing" at the centre, which used to be owned by North Shropshire District Council.

He said: "It seems in pretty good nick to me."

The report will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

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