Anger at plans to close Kilburn sports centre

The Chartertis Sports Centre could close at the end of March

A popular sports centre is facing closure as part of sweeping cuts by the council.

Under proposals put to the executive the Charteris sports centre, in Charteris Road, Kilburn, which provides subsidised fitness facilities which include five-a-side football pitches, basketball courts, and a gym, will close on April 1.

But residents have criticised the move, which they claim will deprive the area of ‘the closest thing we have to a community centre’.

Liza Ramrayka, of the Brent Eleven Streets residents association, said: “It is a valuable community venue, offering kids’ parties and hosting our local cycling project.

“It is the closest thing we have to a community centre - and now it is set for closure.”

Michael Williams, of Quex Road, Kilburn, has visited the sports centre regularly for the past two years.

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He said: “It is an amazing gym – it is the best one that I have gone to and the people who work there are lovely.

“It is a very important part of the community and people are really upset that we face losing it.

“I don’t understand why they are shutting it down – it is always busy. It feels like they are taking money away from sports.”

If the proposals are voted through, Kilburn will be without a community sports centre, leaving residents to travel several miles to Willesden for their nearest, council run facility.

Ondrej Matej, a personal trainer, from Ivy Road, Cricklewood, said he had hoped to take his clients to the gym before he was told it faces closure.

He said: “I come here about once a week to train.

“It would be awful if its closes as it is one of the few good gyms around this area.

“Charteris is subsidised, so it is a lot cheaper than other gyms – about half price so you can save quite a lot of money.”

I don’t see the point in closing it down – it is always busy when I go.

Cllr. James Powney (Lab, Kensal Green, lead member for culture) said: “The proposal is to close the centre from April 2011, as part of a package of savings the council is required to make to cope with the withdrawal of �37 million central government funding.”