Sport surface hits the skids

A RESURFACING project at a major sports centre has hit the skids after the new surface failed a key safety test.The all weather surface at Northgate Sports Centre in Ipswich was laid at a cost of £100,000 to replace an ageing surface on the two five-a-side football pitches.

A RESURFACING project at a major sports centre has hit the skids after the new surface failed a key safety test.

The all weather surface at Northgate Sports Centre in Ipswich was laid at a cost of £100,000 to replace an ageing surface on the two five-a-side football pitches.

The floodlit area, which can also be used as six netball courts, should have been available again for hire about a month ago but it remains out of bounds for the public after tests showed it was not safe to use in wet weather.

Colin Grogan, operations manager at the sports centre, said that when new surfaces are laid Ipswich Borough Council ensures stringent tests are carried out to ensure they are safe for use.


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After work laying the new surface was completed it was tested and it passed all the tests except for a slip resistance test, which raised fears people would lose their footing while using the surface.

Mr Grogan said: “We'd hoped the facility would have been back up and running about four weeks ago.”

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But he added: “Customers health and safety is always a priority. It's just making sure when people are on there and it's wet that people are not going to slide over.”

The contractors and managers at the sports centre had hoped to be able to apply a spray to the surface, which would have given it more grip but wintry weather conditions have prevented that from happening.

They are now waiting for the weather to improve and looking at other alternatives which could be carried out sooner.

Mr Grogan said: “With this type of surface because there has to be a spray applied to the top it can only be done in certain conditions.

“We have managed to relocate everybody so there's nobody without the opportunity to play their sport.”

Those who have requested to use the surface, which should have a lifespan of 10 years once it is finished, are being given the option of using all weather surfaces at Chantry and Gainsborough until the work at Northgate is complete.

Mr Grogan said: “All we can do is assure customers were are doing our utmost to get it up and running as quickly as we can.”

Weblink: www.ibcsport.co.uk

N What do you think of sports facilities in Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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