Talks under way to save Commonwealth Games Legacy football pitches after sudden closure

Talks are under way to reopen a Sandwell sports centre and football pitches which were suddenly closed.

Could the sports centre and football pitches be saved?
Could the sports centre and football pitches be saved?

Pulse Soccer Centre, in Friar Park, Wednesbury, closed with just five days' warning, laying the blame with landlords Phoenix Collegiate School.

Hundreds of football teams have been made homeless along with countless gym members not being able to train.

However, Sandwell Council cabinet member for eduction, and Friar Park councillor, Simon Hackett is spearheading a campaign to reopen the facility under a new guise.

Councillor Hackett and Wednesbury councillor Luke Giles met Phoenix Collegiate headmaster Mike Smith to discuss the issue.

Councillor Hackett said: "We discussed the sudden closure of Pulse. Mr Smith confirmed that operation of the centre was terminated by the mutual agreement of both the school and Pulse following lengthy discussions.

"He also confirmed that no planning application for housing has been sought on this land."

Councillor Hackett added: "I am pleased the school has now been in contact with the Football Foundation and made attempts to contact some of those affected on the closure of Pulse so it can work with those parties on what can be done in both the short and long term to keep the centre open.

"Myself, Luke and other local councillors have offered our full support to work with the school to keep this excellent facility for our community open."

The Express & Star asked Mr Smith whether the school would allow the sports centre to be run by a community not-for-profit organisation.

He said: "The school is working with the Football Foundation on possible options moving forward and any decisions will need to be made with our governing body approval."

Councillor Laura Rollins, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for leisure and tourism, added: “Like many residents, we are concerned about the sudden closure of the Pulse Centre.

"We are working with those who used the Pulse Centre to minimise disruption and relocate the clubs and activities that have been using this space over many years."

She added: "The outline planning application for the site is subject to the applicants entering into a section 106 agreement to secure affordable homes and compensation towards the improvement/upgrade of local sports pitches and sporting facilities throughout the borough.

"The freehold interest in the whole of Phoenix North site (formerly Manor High Foundation School) was statutorily transferred to Phoenix GB. The local authority did challenge the ‘freehold transfer by statute’ of the land, but had no jurisdiction over such matters and was not able to influence the decisions of the landowner to close the Pulse Centre."

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