Grant Shapps MP has secured a pledge that leisure bosses will work with the community to keep Gosling Sports Hall open – potentially by working in conjunction with user groups.
In a related move, Welwyn Hatfield’s MP has also received assurances that Greenwich Leisure (GLL) executives will now release crucial financial information to enable residents to judge the situation first-hand.
The developments came after Mr Shapps summoned GLL Managing Director, Mark Sesnan, along with two senior executives, to a meeting in Parliament to discuss their Sports Hall closure announcement.
The MP was quick to caution, “This is by no means business as usual for the Gosling Sports Hall because a solution will require considerable input from Gosling user groups. However, my first job was to extract, up until now, secret financial information from Greenwich Leisure. After which, I wanted to discuss ways to keep the doors to this vital local facility open. The meeting made progress on both fronts.”
The MP has also asked Greenwich Leisure bosses to meet with Save Gosling residents during the next week. Mr Shapps has requested that GLL shares the relevant financial data with the community, then works on a joint plan with the goal of running the Sports Hall in either a joint or self-managed arrangement; keeping its doors open to Sports Hall users.
Following the meeting Mr Shapps said, “There is the potential for a unique collaboration between GLL and the users of this well-loved facility, but there is a lot of work to be done.
“I don’t underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead, but I am cautiously optimistic that the Sports Hall doors will now stay open beyond March.”
Greenwich Leisure boss Mark Sesnan also apologised for the lack of effective communication between themselves, the community and elected representatives including the MP, in the lead-up to the shock Christmas closure announcement.