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Sports Centre update. There are NO guarantees they state!

by nigelbennett on 10 April, 2012

On the 19th March the Chair of Governors at Sudbury Upper stated it was hoped that the Sports Centre would continue as the status quo IF money allows!

Suffolk CC have finally responded, only taken 2 months for them to do so. It is now clear that if Ormiston are given the freehold of the school buildings and the land it will be solely down to them whether the sports centre continues in its present format, the service is reduced, stopped or improved. Below you can read the response received. You will notice that they state there are NO guarantees!

Please respond to the consultation and please comment on the importance of the sports centre.

SCC response:

“In your email you referred to the sports facilities at Hadleigh and how SCC was able to deal with that matter when Hadleigh converted to academy status (without a sponsor). The main reason that we were able to influence the situation with Hadleigh was that Sport England had provided grant funding for facilities at Hadleigh. A condition of that Sport England grant was that a Dual Use Agreement be written/enforced. It was this grant and the Dual Use Agreement that assisted when the school converted to academy status.  Sudbury Upper is in a different position. The land has already been vested to the Foundation and as such all the facilities sit with the foundation (as opposed to the council). The governing body of Sudbury Upper has passed a motion that they will seek to transfer the freehold to the sponsor academy trust. They will require Secretary of State approval to do this, but this is likely to be granted. Given this, there isn’t anything formally/legally that SCC can do to protect the community use of the sports facilities.  If the school fails to obtain Secretary of State approval then SCC would take back the land from the foundation and then grant a 125 year lease to the sponsor. In this scenario we may have some more influence.  However, in our experience to date we find that academy sponsors want to retain the existing community use. They do this as it provides important revenue funding to them and secondly because they do genuinely want to be part of the local community. As such, there would be reason to be hopeful that this would happen in this instance.  I have taken the opportunity to speak to the academy sponsor concerned here (Ormiston). They raised two points which they were happy for me to cite; 

1. Ormiston are committed to extended school services and to engaging with the local community (and as such would seek to make facilities and services available wherever possible); and

2.At this stage they are not able to offer any guarantees.”

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