Alford club’s fears over school’s plans

Plans to build a new sports centre, complete with a pool and squash courts, could force out other clubs in Alford, a chairman fears.

Concerns have been raised by the Alford Squash Club which has been established for more than 35 years in the town training hundreds of youngsters and residents which could ‘turn their back’ on the current site in favour of the new complex, if funding is secured for its build.

Planning permission has been put in by Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Alford, for a sports centre to include a sports hall, swimming pool, two squash courts, a fitness suite and changing facilities.

But Bob Karley, committee chair for Alford Squash Club, believes the new QEGS development could have a ‘major impact’ on the local area including, the Alford Sports Hall Association and it will ‘sound the death knell’ of the club, he fears.

“The real issue, is the squash club is currently open 24/7 for all to enjoy and the proposed facility will only open at selected times which would limit availability at the new facilities,” said committee chair Bob Karley.

“This is because it will be inevitable that some of our members and, more importantly, prospective and future members, will be drawn to a brand new QEGS facility,” add Mr Karley.

However, Mr Karley also fears that the students at John Spendluffe Technology College may be affected by the proposed build, as he believes, it likely that the facility would offer more suitable times during its school hours.

But QEG chair of the academy of directors, Mr Michael Mkheng on the planning application, said: “The sports centre is a long way off being built as funding needs to be secured to start the work.”