Has trampoline park fallen flat?
02 November, 2018
Cllr Janet Burgess with children at the trampoline park at the Sobell Centre in Holloway
• WITH Highbury Pool closed since the fire in September, I’ve been going to the gym at the Sobell Centre instead. I’ve peered a couple of times over the balcony to watch what’s happening in Greenwich Leisure/Islington Council’s much-vaunted trampoline park. On both occasions the answer was not a lot.
I realise that two visits aren’t a representative sample and that the facility may well be busy and popular at other times, but it made me wonder how well Islington is actually doing against its claim that the new trampolines would more than double the number of people using the Sobell and, particularly, would get more young people doing exercise.
The trampoline park was controversial when it was introduced: cutting the magnificent sports hall in half; removing much of the Olympic legacy, sprung floor; displacing numerous existing sportspeople (footballers, badminton players, climbers); not being safe enough to allow actual gymnastic trampoline training; and being too expensive for many families to use.
Whether it was more about generating income than genuinely encouraging more activity was another issue. So, back in January the Green Party suggested that the council has a duty to let people know whether the claimed benefits are actually achieved.
It’s now nine months since the trampoline park opened so the council should be able to tell us, for example: how many people are using it; how many of those are young people who wouldn’t have otherwise been exercising; how many of the displaced sportspeople have been successfully relocated; and how much money is it making?
I’m sure all the bouncing there is good fun, but has so much disruption to a successful and popular facility brought real benefit to the community? Is this genuinely getting a significant number of Islingtonians to enjoy more exercise? Is it just a cash cow? Or – worst of both worlds! – is it not being used as much as predicted and even losing money too?
Islington Green Party