A SCHOOL sports centre is set to shut to the public after it was announced that key funding was being withdrawn.

Wadham School’s leisure centre is being passed from Somerset County Council to the school and will still be used by students.

It comes as the council plans to pull out of running community leisure facilities when its contract with operator 1610 Limited expires at the end of March, if recommendations are approved.

The move could affect the running of eight school facilities in Somerset.

Matthew Gardner, head teacher at the Crewkerne academy, said: “Wadham School regret that Somerset County Council are reducing their role in supporting community sport facilities at our school site, but recognise this is due to the sweeping cuts imposed upon them by central government, which is forcing them to reduce services.

“The decision will not affect the delivery of school sports provision which will continue to use the sports centre.

“What it means is that there is no longer the funding to subsidise a leisure operator to deliver a community sports programme and manage bookings and public safety in order to make the sports hall available to the public outside school hours.”

However, this does not necessarily mean the facilities will be closed to the residents of Crewkerne forever.

School staff have said they would be open to running the leisure centre for the public in a partnership.

Mr Gardner added: “Wadham School receives no funding to provide community facilities.

“Naturally, the school would want to enable the community to access the sports centre and would work constructively with any potential partners to enable this to happen at some future time.”

A council spokesman said ceasing to commission leisure services and transferring the facilities to the schools would save £900,000 in management fees a year, plus the cost of maintaining and repairing the facilities.

Cllr David Hall said: “We’re committed to delivering the very best services possible but we have to live within our means. Our focus has to be delivering our core responsibilities, particularly those that support our vulnerable residents. We would be delighted to see community access continue but completely understand this may not be possible in all cases.”