Ashburton leisure centre gets a new lease of life
ASHMOOR Recreation Centre in Ashburton is being given a new lease of life as Teignbridge District Council prepares to transfer the community facility to South Dartmoor Community College.
The leisure centre is set to be put back in local hands after the Council’s Executive decided to transfer the management and operation of the well-used sports and recreation centre to the college.
The move will allow Teignbridge to redirect savings into supporting sport development initiatives in rural areas of the district, while making sure the centre is still open and available to local people.
A two-year financial support package will enable the Council to benefit from revenue savings of £35k from 2013 onwards and help the College, which has been the Specialist Sports College since 1997, to improve community access to the centre.
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Since 1996 Ashmoor Recreation Centre has been run as a shared-use sport and leisure centre in partnership between Teignbridge and the college. This partnership provided for college use during school hours and general community use in the evenings, weekends and school holidays.
The centre offers a range of facilities to its customers including a gymnasium, astro-turf pitch, sports hall, badminton courts and tennis courts. Public access will be maintained and it is hoped that opening hours for the community will increase as the college develops its staff capacity to cope with the extra visitors.
Cllr George Gribble, Teignbridge Executive Portfolio Holder for Communities Recreation and Leisure said: “We’ve been working hard on negotiations with South Dartmoor Community College and we’re extremely pleased that an agreement has now been reached.
“This is great news for the Ashburton area. Both the Council and the College are continuously striving to improve their offerings and this is a really positive step in the right direction, putting power in local hands.
“The decision will unlock opportunities for the Council to build on the already excellent leisure offerings in Teignbridge while continuing to reduce our costs.
“We support the principles of assets being managed directly by local communities and we are confident that Ashmoor Recreation Centre is in safe hands with South Dartmoor Community College.
“Throughout the process we have been extremely impressed with the professionalism and skills show by the management and staff of South Dartmoor Community College.
“For those who have not been yet, now is a good time to visit Ashmoor Recreation Centre and see what it has to offer.”
Cllr Stuart Barker, Teignbridge Ward Member for Ashburton and Buckfastleigh said: “It makes good sense to transfer these management responsibilities, because there’s a limited amount the council can do with the facility and the change allows greater local control.
“The college is well placed to improve the range of facilities and sports activities available, and I’d also expect to see greater opportunities for members of the public to use the centre.”
Cllr Philip Vogel, Teignbridge Ward Member for Ashburton and Buckfastleigh added: “I welcome the decision to transfer Ashmoor Recreation Centre to South Dartmoor Community College. This will enable people to have more flexible usage as well as encouraging family use. It will be beneficial by using the expertise of a community college with specialist sports status and good facilities to run the centre.”