CAMPAIGNERS have welcomed “encouraging” proposals to save a leisure centre for the community in Weymouth.

As previously reported, campaigners have been trying to save the indoor facilities at Redlands Community Sports Hub for community groups and clubs after Weymouth College confirmed it was pulling out as operator.

Previously, the charity Active Dorset was only going to take over running the outdoor facilities.

Now, “exciting” new plans to allow the continuation of both indoor and outdoor facilities at the centre will be reviewed by a Dorset Council committee later this week before being sent to Cabinet for approval.

Dorset Echo: Campaigners have been trying to save the facilities at Redlands Picture: Ellie MaslinCampaigners have been trying to save the facilities at Redlands Picture: Ellie Maslin

Active Dorset’s proposals would see refurbishment of the existing 3G pitch alongside building an additional 3G pitch, a community café as well a new hard-surface loop for walking, jogging and cycling.

In addition, the proposals would see the indoor facilities managed differently; groups and clubs would take responsibility for the facilities during their usage time; booking and enquiries would be online, removing the need for on-site management; bookings would generate a code enabling users to access the building through a coded entry point.

Read more: Indoor facilities at Redlands to be kept open

Cllr Peter Barrow, who represents Radipole, said he believed Active Dorset were the right people to create a sustainable development for the community.

He said: “We’re really pleased that the council has listened to the community - who made it clear that they wanted the Hub to stay open - and I’ve got great faith in Active Dorset to provide that long term vision.

“Financially it’s probably still marginal but (Chief Executive of Active Dorset) Martin Kimberley is prepared to take that sort of risk in order to provide a real community asset.

Dorset Echo: Dorset Council councillor for Radipole Pete Barrow Picture: Sam McKeownDorset Council councillor for Radipole Pete Barrow Picture: Sam McKeown

“It’s crucial that this stays open and we do encourage people to make far greater use of it. The first couple of years might be a bit patchy but Dorset Council needs to support the proposals in the early stages in order to see long-term benefit.”

Cllr Barrow added: “This isn’t just about sport because if that building goes then so does all the high-level volleyball and badminton around the area. And actually, there are so many potential uses for the building - there’s no reason why we can’t have adult or children services going in there running sessions for people with learning difficulties or why we can’t have GPs running remote surgeries from the building.

“It’s a sports hub but it is also a community hub: it gets people to one location and, for so many people, this sort of a place is so important for the social side of things. During the pandemic I think we realised just how many people there are that feel lonely and we need to get those sort of people out and not only doing something they enjoy but meeting people and being part of the community.”