Stop the Closure of Burslem Gymnastics Centre
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We oppose the transfer of the Burslem Gymnastics Centre to Fenton Manor for the following reasons.
This gymnastics centre building is a site of social significance It was built in 1902 as a barracks for the 1st Volunteer Battalion - The Prince of Wales's (North Staffordshire) Regiment and also doubled as a public gymnasium, (source thepotteries.org). This is evidenced on various social media discussion sites throughout Stoke on Trent and Burslem . As with sites of social significance, there are special meanings attached to places by groups of people, rather than individuals that need to be taken account of in heritage terms. This building is one of them and should remain open and used as a public gymnasium.
To improve the running of the centre, surely working with the City of Stoke Gymnastics Club to offer some help with the management of the facility could be provided along with sufficient no-cost social media marketing to raise the profile of and increase numbers attending. Also, using the building for other events should also be looked into as it is one of the only buildings in Burslem that has its own free parking facility. The local community group, Our Burslem, would be willing to help with this rather than lose this facility.
You state in the Budget Consultation Book that this would be "minimal impact on service delivery" however, it would be a detrimental impact on our already struggling town.
You also state in your document that your medium term financial strategy is underpinned by your five "Stronger Together Priorities" We would like to comment on four of these priorities:-
"Support vulnerable people in our communities to live their lives well" - Burslem Gymnastics Centre used to offers classes for people with disabilities and it is our understanding that funding is available to offer these classes in the future. How is closing this facility "supporting the community to live their lives well". How is this helping those people?
"Support residents to fulfil their potential" - how is the closure of this facility allowing the future gymnasts and athletes of Burslem and nearby areas who cannot afford to travel to Fenton fulfil their potential?
"Support our businesses to thrive, delivering investment to our towns and communities" - how is this proposal supporting or delivering investment to Burslem?
"Work with residents to make our towns and communities great places to live" - how are you making Burslem town and the community a great place to live by taking away such facilities?
We suggest the following course of action:
Not to move the facility to Fenton, but to take the time to help the facility run more efficiently and encourage people to use the facility in Burslem.
To look at ways to increase footfall in the town rather than take away facilities that already bring people into the town.
To look at "the bigger picture", not just at the Council's costs. To look at the detrimental impact this would have on the already struggling town and take the time and effort it requires to help the town to benefit its residents.
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