You may well have heard that a large American style trampoline park will be opening in the Link Centre this summer.
This news might have been met with more excitement in our household, if it were not for the fact that in order to house this new facility, both the sports hall and climbing wall will be lost. Without exception, everyone I have spoken to about this issue thinks it’s a bad idea.
Looking at trampoline parks in other parts of the country, I see that it’s probably going to cost £10 for an hour of bouncing at our new trampoline park. I asked my teenage daughter how much she would be prepared to pay to go and bounce with her friends, to which she replied, “Why would I pay anything when we have a trampoline in the garden?”
In fact, almost everyone I know with a child under 12 has a trampoline in their garden. Yet you don’t see many climbing walls these days, do you?
The climbing facilities we have at the Link Centre are excellent. There are over 120 potential climbs spread over four walls, catering for everyone from beginners to those of competition standard. Our climbers are now going to have to make their way to Bristol or Reading to find anything that compares with what we have here now.
Who then thinks that it’s a good idea to remove a facility that is unique to the area and well used? I suspect only an organisation that is thinking with its wallet.
As I stand in the Link Centre sports hall on a Thursday morning, the hall is split in two. On my left is an exercise class for “more mature” clients. They are taking their exercise seriously, but laughing and smiling with their instructor throughout. On my right, two occupied badminton courts and a group of children being put through their paces by a fencing instructor. It saddens me that these community groups, along with many others, are being pushed away from the Link Centre and now have to find new venues for their activities.
I would like to say that my family and I will see you at the trampoline park, but I think I’m more likely to see you in a queue at one of the town’s other sporting venues trying to reschedule our sports hall activities. We will continue to bounce in the garden and use the estimated £30 it would cost my three to visit the trampoline park on fuel to get us to the nearest climbing wall.