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Trampoline park work at Sobell Leisure Centre under way

Controversial redevelop­ment at leisure centre comes after more than 35 football groups were turfed out

16 June, 2017 — By Emily Finch

Sobell Centre, where courts have been sectioned off

WORK has started on the controversial redevelop­ment at Holloway’s Sobell Leisure Centre which has seen hundreds of five-a-side footballers kicked out.

As reported in the Tribune last month, Town Hall chiefs refused to reconsider plans that will see half the courts turned into a trampoline park.

More than 35 football groups have now been turfed out of the council-owned sports centre in Hornsey Road, which is managed by Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), trading under Better.

Workers sectioned off some of the courts with wooden panels on Monday and a skip was seen on the site.

John Barber, 55, whose football club played in the centre for 40 years, said: “Sobell customers should be aware of the secretive and un-democratic way Islington Council has acted.

“Buried in 152 pages of minutes approved by the council were a few brief sentences saying GLL had a proposal for a trampoline park but gave no details of size, timing or funding. Immediately following and with absolutely no public consultation, the council agreed GLL could convert half the Sobell sports hall into a trampoline park. We believe the council is in breach of its statutory duty to consult.”

He proposes mobile barriers as an alternative to the complete removal of football from inside the centre. GLL has offered the footballers alternative spaces, including the centre’s artificial pitch.

A GLL spokesman said: “This is an exciting project for the leisure centre and whole borough, which will greatly increase usage of the leisure centre by residents, along with increasing employment opportunities and bringing in new revenue streams to allow for further reinvestment. As a charity GLL does not take a profit.”

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