Update on the closure of Wimbledon Park Sports Centre
Thank you to everyone in the local badminton community who responded to the council consultation on sports facilities in the city.
We’ve since been contacted by councillors and council officers to provide feedback on the plans. We wanted to update you on what we now know.
1 | Wimbledon Park Sports Centre will almost certainly be closing
Wimbledon Park Sports Centre is almost certainly going to be closed permanently, to fund a new community centre in Bransbury Park. This unfortunately is some way away from the central Southsea area. It means those who don’t drive (like some of you who play at SBC) will find it harder to get to those facilities.
2 | The new Bransbury Park facility will not prioritise badminton
The new centre at Bransbury Park will offer a much smaller sports hall with only 2-3 courts. It’s not going to be a like-for-like replacement of the 5-court hall at Wimbledon Park.
Clearly it’s not ideal for our popular club nights, which are open to all in the local community and easily fill the 5 courts. So we’re looking at other options for suitable venues when we return.
3 | You can still shape what Bransbury Park sports centre looks like
Though we likely won’t be using Bransbury Park for club sessions, many of you also play badminton with friends and family outside of our club. So we’d encourage you to fill out the council’s survey about the new facilities.
You could mention your ideas for making it a good place for residents to play badminton in. This might include: having coloured walls to help with shuttle visibility, no lighting directly over courts, good quality nets and posts, space around the courts, making sure bookings are organised well, and so on.
Government roadmap out of lockdown and return to play
Finally, the government’s roadmap out of lockdown suggests that organised sport such as our club sessions may be able to resume in the coming months. At the earliest that’ll be May with some significant restrictions, or from June with no restrictions.
However we’re awaiting further Badminton England guidance on what that looks like. As we’ve said before, we don’t think it’s right or desirable to run club sessions with significant restrictions (e.g. players in the same groups of 6 all night).
Of course what our return to play looks like also depends on what venue we end up settling in, either as a temporary or permanent solution.
We’ll continue to keep you updated as our plans develop.