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Axed footballers denied ‘proper consultation’ over trampoline park at Sobell Leisure Centre

PUBLISHED: 10:21 25 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:33 18 August 2017

Sobell five-a-side players Tamsin Oglesby, Paul Millington, Mark Merchant, John Barber and Peter Murray. Picture: Dieter Perry

Sobell five-a-side players Tamsin Oglesby, Paul Millington, Mark Merchant, John Barber and Peter Murray. Picture: Dieter Perry

Dieter Perry

Campaigning five-a-side players have been bounced back in their calls for a “proper” consultation over the installation of a trampoline park at Sobell Leisure Centre.

Work was due to start on the project last month but has been put on hold because the sports hall is needed for the General Election count on June 8.

Footballers had hoped to capitalise on the enforced delay and asked town hall chiefs for time to build a case to stop the project altogether – but their request has been dismissed.

The players say despite council papers stating the impact on existing Sobell users would need to be reviewed, the plans were announced with no notice or impact assessment.

They say governing bodies including Sport England, which funded the sprung floor, had not even been asked – a claim disputed by the council and GLL.

Confusingly Sport England itself told the Gazette it had been approached by Islington Council and GLL but had yet to respond – and hadn’t decided whether it supported the plans or not.

“GLL is meant to be a charitable organisation,” said angry footballer Tamsin Oglesby. “They are meant to look after their customers but it’s like they’ve said these traditional sports can look after themselves.

“We have nothing against the concept of a trampoline park, but we believe it should not be at the expense of a well-used communal sports hall and cause the complete removal of loyal customers who have been using the Sobell for decades.”

Football is the only sport being completely axed. Players have been told they can play at The Bridge School nearby or on the outdoor pitches, but campaigners say some players are at risk of injury if they fall on hard or wet surfaces. The remaining areas will be used for badminton, basketball and volleyball.

In a joint statement GLL and Islington Council said: “One of the Olympic Legacy goals is to improve participation in physical activity – particularly for young people. The trampoline park is expected to attract double the visitors and groups from a wider variety of backgrounds.

“Most bookings will remain at the Sobell.”

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