A public meeting is due to take place this weekend on the planned closure of the Redlands Community Sports Hub after it emerged the site is being considered for housing.
Campaigners said it would be a ‘disaster’ for Weymouth if the establishment closed.
A feasibility study has been carried out by landowner Dorset Council, who say: ‘The future of the building is uncertain, but the site could be used for housing. Current clubs and site users have been notified.’
The public meeting is held at Weymouth College tomorrow (Saturday), 6 p.m.
If you want to attend but can’t make it to the event, post your questions or concerns in the comments below and we’ll ask on your behalf and post the answers in a future post.
Redlands has been part of the community for generations. It is still known as the Redlands Sports Center by many locals, despite the name change to “Sports Hub” when Weymouth College took over the lease in 2008.
It is home to a huge range of clubs and activities, helping to keep the community fit and healthy while playing a role in social integration.
The building is also used for local and general election counts.
Status so far
The facility is owned by Dorset Council who lease it to Weymouth College – but not for much longer.
Due to skyrocketing costs, the college decided to break its lease more than 10 years early. The contract was concluded until 2036.
Principal Mr Cole confirmed that the lease is costing the college more than £150,000 a year, which it cannot afford, along with around £2million of investment going into the building.
The two parties held regular meetings and the college tried to find another operator to take over the operation.
So far a group called Active Dorset have shown interest – but only for some of the outdoor facilities.
Meanwhile, Dorset Council appear set to mothball the building – it and the college have jointly commissioned a feasibility study which has highlighted the “significant and continuing financial concern of running an aging leisure center and obsolete as well as the increasing responsibilities for the construction investment for the site.”
Campaign to Save Redlands
An action group has been set up by the community in an effort to maintain public use of the facility. They will be there this weekend.
One campaigner said: ‘(If it closes) there will be very few places for indoor sports/activities. In a community of nearly 65,000 people, Redlands is the only ‘recreation centre’ we have , it would be tragic to lose him.”
Another man who contacted the Echo with concerns said it would be a ‘disaster’ for Weymouth if it closed.
A petition has also been launched by Dorset Councilor for Radipole, Peter Barrow.
Cllr Barrow, who is also a councilor on Weymouth City Council, disagrees the building is beyond economic repair.
“It is possible to take advantage of facilities – you just need to have a plan in place.”
Public meeting to be held at Weymouth College on Saturday 15th January
The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at the Bay Theatre, Weymouth College TOMORROW Saturday (January 15).
Weymouth College will make a presentation with updates on reviews undertaken, including user group consultations, future proposals and developments for the Redlands site.
Active Dorset will also be there – they have expressed an interest in taking over some of the outer areas of Redlands.
Please bring a face mask. Hand sanitizer will be provided at the entrance and seating will be socially distanced.
The college will also ensure that there is good ventilation in the theater during the meeting.
Share your comments and questions below if you’d like us to ask them at the meeting.
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