21 Sep Thousands rally to back Retroskate’s fight to stay
A passionate bid to make sure Retroskate is included in remodelling plans for the Marina Centre has hit the rink running as thousands rally to support the cause.
The not-for-profit company’s four directors are urging leisure bosses to let them stay at the seafront centre which hosts 80 skating members, hundreds more at public sessions and lessons, and draws many more from across the country for galas.
Director Gaynor Read is asking people to throw their weight behind the campaign by signing a petition and responding to the council’s consultation as well as its own.
She said the aim was to prove the level of demand to the centre managers Sentinel and also to appeal for public support as it looks to set up an umbrella charity called Trust in Sport.
Many people she added were rebelling against any threat to Retroskate especially as it was one of the best performing and well-supported areas of the 1980s built centre with the potential to become a national hub for the sport.
The roller skating club which has produced a clutch of champions has until October 5 to work out a business plan that will satisfy Sentinel who with fitness experts Pulse have developed plans for the north of the building but left the skating area untouched.Mrs Read said: “We had a meeting with Sentinel and they said that our area has been left blank because as a car park it would make the centre more viable. However they have said they are willing to listen to any plans.
“But I can only see parking being a problem for two months of the year.
“We want to be there and we want to be bigger and better, but we are four directors who have a passion for roller skating and the town.
“We need help to set up a charity trust because a trust needs trustees who want to have a say in what goes on.
“Everyone has been completely shocked. They cannot even believe that they would contemplate not having us there.”
She said the roller skating hub had big plans to expand and open up the rink to other roller sports but needed a longer lease to be able to lever in grant funding.
By taking in the redundant Bite-to-Eat cafe and upstairs play area she hoped to add other activities like archery and a climbing wall that were not part of the current vision.
Thousands have already signed a petition to make sure Retroskate remains part of the redevelopment and an on-line campaign is being shared on social media through its 4000 Facebook friends.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council which owns the centre has said the main aim is to invest in and improve leisure facilities while recognising that they have to pay.
The club is also looking for help and support from business experts, designers and anyone else who can help them put together a strong case for their community project.
It is also keen to hear from other groups who might be interested in using the space.
Anyone who can help is asked to contact Retroskate via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Raft of changes planned for centre
A public consultation aiming to gather views through a questionnaire ends at 5pm today meaning residents have just a few more hours to respond.
Over the last two weeks users have been encouraged to view the plans and feedback their views and suggestions in a “once-in-a-generation” chance to contribute.
The results are likely to trigger intense debate as leisure bosses meet to agree a final scheme, with work likely to start as early as next summer.
A raft of changes are being proposed under a £7.6m redevelopment plan focusing on Great Yarmouth’s Marina Centre and Bradwell’s Phoenix Pool.
Bosses say the redevelopment in Yarmouth will improve facilities, and that they have spent a lot of time exploring supply and demand.
Under early concept plans the pool is still at the heart of the offer with giant slides spiralling outside the building acting as a visible signpost of what is inside.
The changing rooms will be remodelled to form two changing villages – meaning swimmers can be rotated without closing the pool as happens now, and adding 120 more fun sessions a year.
Meanwhile the main reception will be improved with comfortable seating and a cafe.
The current gym will be moved upstairs and a three-storey soft play area for tots to teens set in its place.
Proposals also see a new health and fitness suite, refurbished squash courts, and online booking systems as well as general, more modern redecoration throughout.
The plans and comment forms are available in the centre’s reception and in the town hall’s foyer as well as online at www.marina-centre.com and at www.great-yarmouth.gov.uk/have-your-say.
this news story was provided by Great Yarmouth Mercury