Clubs devastated as popular Mansfield sports facility announces it will not reopen to public

Sports clubs in Mansfield have been left devastated after Manor Sport & Recreation Centre in Mansfield Woodhouse announced that, due to ‘extreme pressures’ it would cease hiring outdoor pitch facilities to the public.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 5:00 pm

The Kingsley Avenue complex, which is run by the Two Counties Trust, which operates the nearby The Manor Academy school, announced on its Facebook page this week that the current climate had made it ‘unfeasible’ to reopen its outdoor facilities to the community, leaving many sports clubs homeless.

Paul Unwin is chairman of North Notts Hockey Club, which has played at the complex for more than 30 years, and said the decision could ultimately ‘kill off’ the club, which has been in Mansfield Woodhouse since 1949.

The club has nine senior teams and a junior section which train and play at the complex three times per week.

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The Manor Sports Complex is home to a number of sporting teams

He said: “This decision will have major implications for us – it could kill off the club.

"The nearest suitable facility for us is Worksop, which we have been using temporarily, but we were told we should hopefully be able to resume playing at Manor later this month, so this is really disappointing.

"Parents will not want to continue driving to Worksop to train in the evenings, so they will join elsewhere.”

The move will also affect the club’s 93-year-old founder, John Tomlinson, who watches the club play every Saturday.

North Notts Hockey Club's First Team, pictured with 93-year-old club founder John Tomlinson.

Mr Unwin said: “John would watch us from 9am until 5pm most Saturdays and it’s unlikely he will be able to do that if we are no longer local – it’s such a shame as the club has been part of his life for 72 years.

“We hope the trust will reconsider their decision as it will affect so many of our players.”

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Decision

North Notts Hockey Club pictured at the Manor Complex in 1989

A trust spokesman said: “We have made this difficult decision having fully investigated what is required to open these facilities to the community, including the necessary staffing, health and safety legislation and considering the impact it would have on the school.

“We have not come to this decision lightly and have reviewed the alternative facilities in the locality to ensure there are alternative recreational facilities for community use.

“We appreciate the impact this might have on some and apologise for any inconvenience, but hope people will understand the extreme pressures at this challenging time for so many organisations.

“We are committed to providing a high-quality education and as many opportunities as possible to our pupils, and we have made this decision in order to be able to keep delivering on that promise.”

Mansfield MP Ben Bradley, a keen hockey player himself, said he would be ‘seeking discussions’ with the trust.

He said: “I’m hugely disappointed by this decision not to reopen the sports complex to the community.

“Though I understand the challenges they face within the school, this is a vital community asset and they appear to have not even attempted to seek alternative solutions to keep it open.

“Their decision has made a large and successful local hockey club homeless, and it will deprive this community of access to leisure facilities that are desperately needed.

“I will be seeking out discussions with them, with the club and other partners to try and get the site back open to the public as soon as possible.”

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