Gymnastics club looking for a little flexibility from trust over Hallglen sports centre decision

Forth Valley Gymnastics Club claims Falkirk Community Trust (FCT) has not exactly bent over backwards to allow its members to continue to train in a sports centre which will be made unavailable to them from Friday.

Hallglen Sports Centre has been under threat for a number of years now and just last month the Hallglen Community Hub Working Group stated the premises was only days away from being shut down.

The group, which is trying to turn the premises into a community hub, stated the centre had been deliberately run down and not properly maintained by its owners Falkirk Council and its operators FCT.

According to FCT the sports centre requires £600,000 of work to be carried out before it would be fit for use again.

Now Forth Valley Gymnastics Club wants the trust to reverse its decision and give them access to the premises to train there for another month until they can secure the alternative accommodation they have plans for in Larbert.

Maureen Campbell, FCT chief executive, confirmed the sports centre would not be available to members of the gymnastic club and other users from Friday, October 11 for the foreseeable future.

She said: “The facility does not have a working heating system and it is not safe for people to use. It is not closed just not available for people to use.”

She added the gymnastics club and other users had been told in August about the possibility of the centre no longer being able to be used.

In a statement released on Tuesday, FCT general manager Neil Brown said: “The trust did not contact the club members about the facility closure directly, firstly because they do not have access to such members’ details and on the presumption the gymnastic club lead would ensure the situation was well known to their members.

“In the last six weeks almost all of the existing sports hall customers have been found alternative accommodation, including the Cheerleaders group who will have been relocated to Zetland Park pavilion.

“It was always anticipated the most difficult club to relocate was going to be the gymnastics club, given their specific request for a hall of similar size, with storage for their specialist equipment, and their unwillingness to consider other options suggested by the trust.”

Forth Valley Gymnastics Club, which has over 200 members ranging from three to 18-years-old, trains four days a week, Tuesday to Friday, at Hallglen Sports Centre.

Some members have been accepted to train with Scottish and British Team Gym Squads to compete in the future and the club has had gymnasts who qualified to compete in Europe with the British team in the past.

Blair Dewar, marketing and media officer for Forth Valley Gymnastics Club, said: “The trust told us there was a possibility of the centre closing, but there was nothing definite. Users of the hall still have not had anything in writing about the centre closing on Friday.

“They say it is because there is no heating, but the hall has had no heating for eight years. It’s not that we are unwilling to consider the trust options, it’s just with the size of this club and what we do there is no suitable alternative accommodation for us and we have been frantically searching.”

Looking to their long term future the club has applied for planning permission to change the use of a unit at Lochlands Industrial Estate in Larbert, but the decision on that cannot be taken until Falkirk Council’s planning committee meet on November 20.

Mr Dewar said: “We would just want to stay and train at Hallglen until we find out about our planning application.”