Vow to keep Rossett Sports Centre

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HELL would freeze over before Rossett Sports Centre would close, a Harrogate councillor has said.

Michelle Woolley, ward councillor for Rossett, has pledged that the popular centre will remain open, despite a council report that suggests the authority hands over the management of the facility.

She told the Advertiser that she and fellow ward member Coun Jim Clark would do everything in their power to retain services there.

“Hell would freeze over before myself or Jim would allow the facilities to close,” she said.

Asked if she was giving a 100 per cent guarantee, she said that was impossible but that she was “99.5 per cent confident”.

“It’s inconceivable,” Coun Woolley said.

“The facilities are of a very high standard.

“I use the centre myself and my son uses it for goalkeeper training - there are so many activities there.

“The closure of it is highly, highly unlikely.”

Coun Woolley said that if cabinet member for culture Coun Caroline Bayliss, backed the recommendation by a council officer - which is part of possible “efficiency savings” in next year’s budget - the measure would then have to go through cabinet and to full council in March.

She added that, even then, the centre could still be kept open, perhaps by a private group, or by Rossett School.

Council leader, Coun Don Mackenzie, said he was “frankly a bit surprised” by the proposal to give up management of the facility.

“I would hope that whatever happens as far as Rossett is concerned, there is no loss of service there,” he said.

“It may be the case of doing what we did in Boroughbridge, getting local people to take the responsibility on.”

A council spokesman said: “As part of the council’s budget-setting process for 2012/13, officers have identified a number of options for achieving efficiency savings. This is very early in the budget setting process and none of the proposals have yet been discussed by senior councillors.”

Rossett Sports Centre employs two full-time and four part-time staff, as well as around 20 casual employees and coaches.