The Edge Leisure Centre in Haslemere has been described as a ‘political football’ by Sports Haslemere after local government failed to reopen it. But a temporary solution may have finally been found.
The Edge is a ‘dual-use’ facility, with Woolmer Hill School having exclusive access to the centre during school hours, and the public using it in the evenings and weekends. The Edge building is owned by Surrey County Council (SCC), which was responsible for securing a new tenant after Waverley Borough Council (WBC) terminated its lease earlier this year.
Despite knowing about WBC’s decision almost a year prior, no new tenant was found, and while both councils promised The Edge would not close, close it did.
The clubs and other users of the facility were devastated by this news and shocked to be only given one week’s notice before being turfed out.
Sports Haslemere, the clubs and members of the public have campaigned relentlessly with petitions, protests and presentations at SCC, WBC and even Haslemere Town Council to try and get the Edge open again.
After many, many months SCC and WBC’s recent joint statement has revealed that a temporary 12 month lease may give The Edge back to Haslemere residents until a permanent solution can be found.
SCC and WBC’s joint statement in full:
Waverley Borough Council and Surrey County Council are working together on a solution that would see a return of community use at The Edge Leisure Centre. The councils are working on a management contract that would be for a 12-month period. During this time, the councils will work with the local community and sports clubs to try to find a sustainable and long-term solution to allow community use outside core school hours.
Both councils want some out-of-school-hours community use at The Edge as soon as possible. Waverley Borough Council is making a financial contribution to cover the leisure use, while Surrey County Council – as the site owner and local education authority – is making a financial contribution to maintain the buildings and allow continued access for Woolmer Hill School during core school hours.
Waverley Borough Council invited two organisations to provide cost-effective proposals that would see The Edge’s sports hall open to some clubs and groups during certain hours on weekday evenings and weekends. It is expected that as demand becomes clearer, opening hours will flex to meet the need wherever possible. Use of The Edge will be focused on meeting the needs of users who cannot be accommodated at Haslemere Leisure Centre, such as trampolining, badminton, indoor football, and basketball.
The councils are extremely grateful to Woolmer Hill Sports Association, who will continue to manage the Waverley-owned playing pitches at Woolmer Hill until a permanent arrangement is in place.