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‘We’re pushed out by squash court revamp’
SQUASH players in Witney have hit out at leisure centre plans to close courts as part of a £350,000 gym expansion.
And a similar plan at an Oxford centre will be reviewed after players complained.
GLL Nexus, which runs Witney’s Windrush Leisure Centre on behalf of West Oxfordshire District Council , plans to cut the number of courts from five to three.
The company plans to refurbish the remaining courts and said the number of bookings showed three courts could meet demand.
But squash players said four courts were needed to host competitions at the centre and the decision could damage the game.
Len Lloyd, who regularly uses the squash courts, said: “This is going to be totally destructive to the squash scene in West Oxfordshire.
“There is a lot of squash coaching that goes on at the Windrush and quite a lot of players get to a very high ranking in English squash.”
Squash player Janet Buckle, of Standlake, said: “It is very short sighted, especially as squash is likely to be an Olympic sport in 2020.”
GLL commercial director (regional) Steve Hercus said: “It is very rare that all five of our squash courts at the Windrush Leisure Centre are in use and if we can offer three high quality squash courts, players will be able to access squash at the time they would like for the majority of the time.”
Meanwhile, Oxford City Council will look again at plans to convert one of three squash courts at Ferry Sports Centre in Summertown into a spinning studio and soft play area. A new scheme is expected within eight to 10 weeks. Councillor Van Coulter, executive board member for leisure services, said: “The remit given to officers is to look at the provision of extra facilities whilst trying to retain all three squash courts.”
David Quinn, of Woodstock Road, said: “This council can provide excellent leisure and sports facilities for all the city’s residents and should discontinue this policy of attacking soft targets.”