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Sobell footballers serve legal notice to Islington Council over trampoline park

PUBLISHED: 14:58 26 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:31 18 August 2017

Sobell five-a-side players Tamsin Oglesby, Paul Millington, Mark Merchant, John Barber and Peter Murray protesting outside the centre about the trampoline park earlier this year. Picture: Dieter Perry

Sobell five-a-side players Tamsin Oglesby, Paul Millington, Mark Merchant, John Barber and Peter Murray protesting outside the centre about the trampoline park earlier this year. Picture: Dieter Perry

Dieter Perry

Furious five-a-side players have served Islington Council with a legal notice over the decision to replace their pitches at the Sobell Leisure Centre with a trampoline park.

Campaigners from the Barnard Park football pitches and the Sobell Centre five-a-side league outside the town hall before a council meeting discussing both controversial projects last month. Picture: Polly Hancock Campaigners from the Barnard Park football pitches and the Sobell Centre five-a-side league outside the town hall before a council meeting discussing both controversial projects last month. Picture: Polly Hancock

The footballers say no proper consultation was held before the decision was made to cover the Olympic-funded sprung floor to make way for the facility, which the council and operators GLL say will get more kids exercising.

And after a notice was put up inside the leisure centre saying the sports hall would close for 10 days from Monday, the campaigners asked their solicitor to get the ball rolling.

A “letter before action” has now been sent to the town hall’s health chief Cllr Janet Burgess informing her of the intention to seek a judicial review at the High Court – unless the work is stopped so a public consultation can be held.

The letter from legal firm Freeths states: “Our client requires that the council agree to conduct a proper, meaningful, public consultation on the proposal to develop a trampoline park at the Sobell Leisure Centre. This would result in halting the project until the consultation had been completed.

“Pending the outcome of the consultation, if the trampoline park is to proceed in the face of significant public disapproval, our client, as well as the individuals who have signed the petition, seek the council’s agreement to make a provision for indoor football facilities to remain in the redeveloped hall.”

The letter gives the council until 4pm tomorrow to respond. If it does not, the campaigners will be seeking an injunction to stop works until a “lawful public consultation” has taken place.

It adds: “My client and the core steering group are willing to attend an all parties meeting at the council’s offices. This should take place as soon as possible and certainly before any serious damage is caused by GLL’s contractor to the Olympic legacy, ‘gransprung’ timber floor (by screwing a layer of hardboard on top, which is GLL’s definition of a ‘timber floating floor’), or GLL’s contractor begins cutting out the proposed 6.5 metres of patterned, first floor concrete parapet wall.”

Cllr Burgess has repeatedly stated the trampoline park will increase activity among youngsters, and allow twice as many people to use the space.

The footballers were told they could either play outdoors or at The Bridge School nearby.

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