‘Spen Valley needs its own sport centre’

Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre
Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre

We will fight tooth and nail to get a sports facility built in the Spen Valley - that’s the message from Cleckheaton councillors.

They say it will be “outrageous” if a new sports centre is not built in Spen after Whitcliffe Mount Sport Centre is demolished in May.

Couns Kath Pinnock and John Lawson criticised a new Kirklees Council-commissioned report by Sport England, which said that once a new four-court hall is built to replace the existing Whitcliffe Mount facility, Kirklees “will not require any further sports hall provision.”

The council said in February that it had allocated £15m to build a new sports centre at the Princess Mary Athletics Stadium site in Liversedge.

Coun Pinnock said: “The Spen Valley needs a dedicated sports centre and to think it might not have one is outrageous.

“At a time when they’re trying to find more ways of getting people to exercise, it would be a terrible decision - if that happens, they will show how much they neglect Spen.

“They do it all the time - trying to close our library, downgrading our town hall, all they care about is Huddersfield and Dewbsury.”

Council leader David Sheard said at Tuesday’s council cabinet that the report was a starting point to develop a strategy for future sporting provision. He said: “This report nowhere recommends what we should build, not build or what we should retain. “It’s an analysis for us to use as a tool to decide what we will build elsewhere.”

Whitcliffe Mount, a sports facility with eight courts, a bowling green and leisure provision, is also used by the neighbouring school. It will be demolished next year along with the school.

There are no plans to reconstruct the sports facility but the school will be rebuilt with four school-controlled courts, which would restrict public access.