York sports clubs face sports hall closures

Further updates

A number of the University’s sports teams could be left without facilities for training and fixtures after City of York Council planners recommended a 10 year planning permission extension for the Sport Centre Tent be turned down.

The lease for the structure, opened in 2005 and intended only to be temporary, expired last month but, in the absence of any firm plans to replace the Tent with a permanent building, the council’s east area planning sub-committee is expected to refuse a request to keep it open until 2020.

Any closure would represent a tremendous blow to a significant proportion of York Sport’s 59 clubs, who rely on the £800,000 facility for training sessions and fixtures in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) leagues on a weekly basis during term time. The Netball, Volleyball, Basketball, Fencing and Ultimate Frisbee clubs are among those which could be forced to relocate.

It would also impact on schools and the local community, who are able to hire out one or more of the Tent’s three multi-purpose pitches throughout the whole year.

A report into the proposal said: “Temporary planning permission was granted because the applicant specifically volunteered that intention and because it was expected the planning circumstances would have changed at the end of the five-year period and a replacement permanent sports hall would have been constructed.

“However, the University appears at this stage to have no firm plans for a replacement despite the continuing need for a sports hall at Heslington West. This uncertainty is insufficient reason to justify extending the planning permission by ten years.”

While accepting that the Tent would be allowed to remain open for the time being, the report states that continuing its use would have “an unacceptable impact on the character and appearance of the area.”

Sam Asfahani, York Sport President, remains “optimistic” that it won’t “reach the worst case scenario of closure, and that the planning permission will be extended”.

Rob Wadsworth, the Sports Centre Manager, told Nouse: “It’s imperative that we get extended time permission because it’s really well used by teams as well as people outside the University.”

If the structure were shut down, Wadsworth has said an alternative would be “using facilities in the community, which would obviously be at substantial cost to the clubs”.

Asfahani continued: “No decision has been made as yet, but the Union is involved in all discussions on the matter. There is an upcoming meeting with the planning group and I’ll be there. I’m confident we’ll get our point across.”

28 comments

  1. 6 Aug ’10 at 7:05 pm

    Chris Etheridge

    The Council is evidently completely out of touch with students at the University. It would be disastrous if the facility was closed and I hope they seriously reconsider this idea. If there is an active campaign against its closure then count me in.

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  2. 6 Aug ’10 at 11:05 pm

    Student Registry System

    Adam Shergold is no longer a student – why is he being allowed to write for the campus media?

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  3. 7 Aug ’10 at 11:03 am

    Pedant Police

    @Student Registry System

    Yeah, but what you gonna do?

    He’s still techically Sports Editor until elections in November :-)

    Reply Report

  4. 7 Aug ’10 at 11:07 am

    Student Registry System

    No – he is not.

    You stop holding a committee position when you leave Uni and stop being a member…

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  5. 7 Aug ’10 at 11:09 am

    Pedant Police

    Doesn’t mean he can’t write articles though, does it?

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  6. Get over it. Shergold is quality.

    More to the point, why does Etheridge feel the need to get so involved in everything? just let go .

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  7. 7 Aug ’10 at 11:40 am

    Student Registry System

    Yes

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  8. 7 Aug ’10 at 12:34 pm

    Chris Etheridge

    I’m doing an MA next year, so I’m still a student!

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  9. 7 Aug ’10 at 1:06 pm

    Anonymous Monstrosity

    More to the point, why do people feel the need to be so personal and so rude?

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  10. Right….back to the point please guys ?

    As students we need to fight against this. A lot of sports clubs are dependent on the sports tent whilst a permanent facility is built. At York, we have had to make due with what we have considering that newer facilities that should have been built earlier, are only being carried out now.

    However, whilst the university take their time doing this, should we just stand back and let sports clubs, children of York schools and members of the community go without ?

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  11. 7 Aug ’10 at 2:15 pm

    Wrong priorities

    This article ignores the firm commitment the University gave to the council that this was only to be a temporary solution and planning permission was only given on this basis.

    Now, the University failed to make any long term plans in regards to replacing the tent and now are paying the price.

    More a more rounded view I’d suggest people check it out:

    http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/8317227.University_of_York_sports_hall_facing_closure_in_planning_wrangle/?ref=mr

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  12. 7 Aug ’10 at 2:56 pm

    maybe, but...

    Wrong priorities: Unfortunately it’s not the University paying the price. It’s students and the local community who use it.

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  13. I don’t see what’s so bad about this, ‘Wrong priorities’ has the right focus, why hasn’t the University sorted a permanent building out when it has had 5 years to do so? Why hasn’t YUSU or the AU/Yorksport proactively campaigned for the University to act on its promise to the Council instead of complaining when they don’t?

    Hopefully the tent will be closed so the University is forced to finally do something at the risk of prospective students seeing a severe lack of facilities spending in sports. Why should the Council bow down to the University and students again and again, objectively they are right, but obviously noone wants us to be without such a space.

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  14. No doubt the university administration has been characteristically lackadaisical in its planning. They’ll probably come up with some guff about how arrangements are being made on Hes East, but said arrangements won’t be open until 2025 or something.

    Having said that, I fail to see why the council should punish students for the admin’s short sighted decisions.

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  15. “Why hasn’t YUSU or the AU/Yorksport proactively campaigned for the University to act on its promise to the Council instead of complaining when they don’t?”

    They have…

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  16. Then why might I ask, have I (someone who keeps up to date with the campus media, but is not ‘in the loop’) never heard of this issue before? I’ve been at York for 3 years and the tent not being permanent is news to me. One would have thought that either the article would have mentioned student activity or that such activities would be rather more obvious on campus.
    The loss of the tent is a big issue, it’s no good throwing up your arms when it’s too late. If there was a headline in Nouse 6-12 months back stating the imminent closure of the tent than I apologise, but I don’t recall such a thing.

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  17. 7 Aug ’10 at 7:54 pm

    Pospective Student

    well a part of me is hoping i dont make my York offer and go to my insurance instead, if this is really happening.

    Bad move if the uni dosent do anything about this. surely it will stop students from applying…

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  18. When I started at York in 2005 I remember everyone singing praises about the new tent. I was told that it meant sports clubs were no longer fighting over the available space and it made sport really freely open to everyone, rather than the limited resources having to be balanced between inclusion and team practice. I never remember being told that it was a temporary structure. In YUSU’s defence, it’s probably something that’s just been lost over time as a Chinese whisper (campus after all is only supposed to have a 3 year memory). As for upsetting residents, I was in the James block right behind the sports centre in my first year and was never bothered by the noise there. The only issue I ever had was the rowing club getting their gear out at the weekend – but that it totally unrelated to the tent. The next closest buildings are so far away that I can’t see a problem with noise levels or visual impact from the structure. The Uni admin do however need a boot up the rear end to do something whether or not the lease is extended.

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  19. 8 Aug ’10 at 12:48 am

    Wrong priorities

    Chris Beale:

    I agree totally. The University has spunked 100’s of millions of pounds into Hes East when I am sure a permanent sports centre comparable to the current temporary tent would cost peanuts…

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  20. Just vote Tory and everything will be alright! :-D

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  21. Yes, Prospective Student – many people do come to York specifically for the sporting facilities, which are indeed world-renowned (and clearly they were the crucial factor in winning you over). I once knew a student who had walked barefoot to York all the way from Outer Mongolia, just to play in a netball match in the Tent and then go for a jog around the astro-turf.

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  22. 8 Aug ’10 at 12:01 pm

    Outer Mongolian

    “Hopefully the tent will be closed so the University is forced to finally do something at the risk of prospective students seeing a severe lack of facilities spending in sports. ”

    You make a good point there, but realistically if it hasn’t been done in the last years round of rebuilding it won’t be done in the next 5 – The uni just spent all their capital spending budget on textures wallpaper.
    So where does that leave current and near future students? Without even the substandard facilities York has at the moment.

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  23. …ok to be fair, the sports centre building ( not tent) got a serious upgrade over the last 2 years, if you’d seen it in 2007, you’d have been more shocked…. doesnt excuse the fact that it’s not of the same size and quality of comparator institutions.

    As for more facilities, 9 million pounds ( of which the uni have secured £6 milliom and thanks to an the council, 3 mill, shameless plug I know ) just got put into a new sports centre with a county standard swim pool 100 machine fitness suite, 6 5-aside pitches and a 3g pitch, with a spring 2012 opening date on Heslington east ( diggers on site (2011) and it’s intended to run alongside this facility or whatever’s left of it by the looks of things.

    Google “york sports village” 1st link is the following : http://bit.ly/bZIrQ8 its all there.

    That said, it’s about time york got its skates on with sports facilities….

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  24. 12 Aug ’10 at 12:49 pm

    @ "Pospective student".

    Never mind about whether you’re planning to go to a university with a sports tent or not. How about the fact that someone who’s too thick
    and lazy to have worked out how to use apostrophes shouldn’t be going to ANY university?

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  25. Computer skills – different issue.

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  26. 12 Aug ’10 at 5:42 pm

    @ Pospective student

    Don’t be put off by the person who posted just above here.

    Not everyone (in fact, pretty much no-one) at York, or indeed any university, is that pompous or stuck up.

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  27. ‘Waaaah sport and that’ – go read a book once in a while, you feckless bunch

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