THE future of a popular but maligned sports centre in Yate is looking brighter after the transfer of its ownership was formally agreed.

Yate Outdoor Sports Complex (YOSC), used by Brimsham Green School in school hours, had faced potential closure when South Gloucestershire Council announced it would not be renewing its contract with The Circadian Trust to run the site as well as two other dual-use sports facilities at Downend School and Patchway Community College, in a move which would save the authority £293,000.

In April, the Gazette reported how Yate Town Council together with Yate and District Athletics Club had offered to step in and take over running the well-used complex which includes an all-weather athletics track, club room and boxing centre when Circadian's contract expires on October 31.

And this week the takeover was formally approved by South Gloucestershire Council’s communities committee.

Cultural services manager Martin Burton said savings had been identified at the three dual-use sports facilities, which are all used by schools during the day and are open to the community at other times.

“As part of our savings programme we decided not to renew our contract with Circadian,” he said.

“All local authorities are facing intense financial pressures and are looking at ways to make sure that every pound of funding is spent wisely and effectively.

“This means that we need to look at how we are organised and how we provide services to continue to ensure that we provide the highest quality of services possible.”

He added: “Yate is the most complicated site in terms of the ownership of the land and the range of facilities but we have had a number of meetings with all parties concerned and negotiations are still ongoing.

“We are all aware of the need to move very quickly on this because if there is a delay we could start seeing numbers drop and that would question the viability of the centre.”

Cllr Shirley Potts (Lab, Staple Hill) questioned whether prices at the complex would increase if it was run independently.

“My concern is whether South Gloucestershire Council will still have an input,” she said. “If a school or community group operates a centre they are going to be concerned with their own need so it could be like any other private business.”

But Yate town councillor Chris Willmore said the complex would be run for the community.

“We are at a very delicate stage of negotiations but all bookings for the coming year have been confirmed and a refurbishment will be happening in the next year,” she said.

“There has been some appalling neglect by Circadian so we want everybody to tell us what their priorities are for the complex.”

A community interest company will now be set up by the town council and athletics club, which in turn will agree a sub-lease with the school.