Plans for the future of Brightlingsea sports centre are being hampered by staffing and financial constraints imposed by Tendring District Council (TDC).
The future of the centre was placed in doubt after Tendring District Council decided in December not to renew a joint-use agreement with the Sigma Trust – which owns the building at the Colne Community College to save £76,000 a year. TDC suggested that the centre could be run by Brightlingsea Town Council and the community.
This week Brightlingsea's three district councillors again met with officials from the Sigma Trust and TDC. After the meeting councillor Mick Barry told Brightlingsea Info: "We felt the Sigma Trust was very positive and willing to cooperate with the town council and other bodies as far as possible, but we are both limited by staffing and financial constraints caused by TDC walking away."
Cllr Barry added: "We are seeking a review of that decision and further financial support as we feel we have a very strong case for some form of continuing district council involvement beyond its current three month commitment."
A Sigma Trust spokesperson said: “We are committed to making our facilities available for the community to use in an organised and structured way, and are working closely with TDC to ensure a smooth transition occurs.”
In a press release issued this week, TDC said users of the sports centre are to be contacted by its leisure team to help them make bookings. The council says existing bookings are being honoured, and block bookers and hirers will be contacted about transferring their regular sessions to a new Sigma Trust agreement. Racquet sports users will be asked if there's any interest in forming a local club as casual use of the racquet courts will not continue.
Users interested in forming a club can register their interest by emailing [email protected]
• Tendring District Council leader Neil Stock says that the council "is prepared to invest in schemes which deliver benefits for our residents and businesses" after its cabinet agreed additional spending of £525,000 split between two projects in Clacton and Dovercourt,
The extra spending – which will have to be confirmed by full council – is required because of spiralling construction costs on the £2.4m Jaywick Workspace and covered market scheme, and the £1.6m Starlings project for a car park and event space in Dovercourt. If approved, some of the extra money will be taken from the council's New Homes Bonus and Business Investment Fund, while the projects' main funders – the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and Essex County Council – will also be approached to help.