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What's next for Abbey Leisure Centre in Selby?

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7:50am 29th February 2012
(Updated 9:43am 29th February 2012)

Yesterday's fire at Abbey Leisure Centre in Selby's left staff and council officials in shock.

Mark Crane's the Leader of Selby District Council he's spoken to Tracy from Minster FM about the next step for the centre.


Delivered by Leader of the Council, Cllr Mark Crane:

As many of you will know, there has been a significant fire at Abbey Leisure Centre this morning and, having been there myself along with Deputy Leader, Cllr Ivey, I can report that there has been serious damage.

The alarm was first raised at around half six this morning; a time when thankfully no members of the public were in the building.

Fire crews were on site quickly, and we believe around 35 fire fighters helped to tackle the blaze, with crews coming from York and Tadcaster to support their colleagues in Selby.

The fire was extinguished around 10am.  Investigators have been on site all day looking for the cause of the blaze.  We don’t yet have their conclusions, but we do believe the fire started in the sauna area.

The damage is incredible.  Parts of the roof have collapsed, the pool area is devastated and initial investigations indicate that there may be significant damage to the structure of the building.

Such a fire at any time would be terrible; but coming, as this does, so soon after a £1million refit of the facilities is particularly galling. 

I’d like to express my profound thanks to all those who helped in dealing with the incident.  Of course, my thanks for the professionalism and dedication of the fire officers who did everything they could to bring the fire under control and make the area safe.

Thanks must go to the WLCT staff who acted quickly when the fire was first discovered and have supported the fire crews throughout the day.

I’d also like to thank Selby Town Council for their support to the fire service in setting up a respite centre at the nearby Scott Road Community Centre.  Thanks also to the Salvation Army who were on site offering much needed refreshments to the fire crews.

Many Access Selby staff have also been involved during the day, both supporting on site and in the local area.  Community Officers have been knocking on doors of nearby residents to check they are okay and to offer any support needed - a demonstration of how the organisation can deliver a quick and effective response.

So what next?  The full extent of the damage is yet to be determined and that will, of course, influence what we do next.  What I can say, however, is that we are absolutely committed to providing leisure services.  Indeed, earlier this afternoon, with fire crews still on site, we were already discussing options with WLCT.  Our top priority must be to ensure that these services are provided for the thousands of members of the leisure centre.

Access Selby staff have also started to work alongside WLCT colleagues to pull together information for existing members to answer questions around the impact on their membership and what happens next.  This information will be available over the coming days and will be disseminated to councillors too to help you help your local community.

This fire presents us with many challenges, both short-term and long-term, but I have confidence in the strength of partnership between the Council and WLCT, and I am sure that we can overcome these difficulties.

In a joint statement yesterday Selby District Council and WLCT said:

"At 6.30am this morning (28/2/12) fire crews were called to Abbey Leisure Centre, Selby following a fire alarm activating on site.

"No members of the public were present on site.

"We are working with the emergency services to identify the cause.

"Abbey Leisure Centre has seen major investment over the last few years and everyone associated with the centre has been left devastated by this fire but we are thankful and grateful that nobody has been injured.

"Once the fire crews have made the building safe will we be able to assess the scale of the damage caused but early indications are that this fire has caused significant damage.

"The Council is committed to providing leisure services despite this set-back and both the authority and WLCT have been in talks this afternoon to look at how these services can be provided following the fire.

"Further information will be regularly posted on our website when it becomes available."

Minster FM was first at the scene yesterday reporting live. Click here to hear our live reports.

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