Mark Hall Sports Centre: Harlow sports groups fear it will remain shut until February

News / Mon 30th Nov 2020 at 07:36am

HARLOW sports clubs have urged the Trust that runs Mark Hall Sports Centre to re-open next week.

Whilst Paringdon Sports Club, Harlow Leisurezone, Pure Gym and many more sports centres across the town are looking forward to opening their (Covid-secure) doors on Wednesday, things are a lot less certain over at Mark Hall.

Sports organisations have been informed that the sports centre would not be re-opening until BMAT takes over “in January 2021”.

As previously reported on YH, Mark Hall Academy is joining BMAT, the educational trust that runs Burnt Mill Academy and several other schools in the town and beyond.

At the moment it is run by Midlands-based Academy Transformation Trust (ATT).

But the Regional Schools Commissioner decided to agree for MHA to join BMAT after a poor Ofsted inspection at the First Avenue school in March.

However, at a recent virtual meeting to discuss the transfer, the chief executive of ATT said the transfer date was February 1st, 2021.

The decision has angered and upset many of the sports organisations that use the facility.

Tegate Netball Club coach, Carol Bull said: “Our players are all desperate to return.

We have missed so much this year. We have matches next weekend and it will be very unfair if our opposition has had practice and we have not”

We also spoke to the coach of running group, ParkRunandBeyond.

Adrian Fell, who recently was awarded an Active Essex Hero award for his work during pandemic, said: “All my runners are desperate to get back on the track.

“Not everyone likes running out on the streets in the winter, so our track sessions on a Monday and Wednesday are very important.”

“We do hope ATT does the right thing here”.

YH spoke to ATT.

A spokesperson for Academy Transformation Trust said:

“We are as keen as anyone for life to return to normal but unfortunately the sports centre is currently closed under the Government’s Covid-19 restrictions.

“We are now reviewing whether it will be possible to open the centre next week when the new tiered approach comes in next week, which Public Health England will need to agree.

“We will be in touch with all centre users to update them when a decision is taken on whether we are able to open the centre or not.”

A number of clubs have been in touch with Harlow MP Robert Halfon.

Mr Halfon is the chair of the House of Commons Education Committee and has been a huge advocate on the lockdown not affecting the mental and physical heath of children and adults.

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