A PUBLIC backlash against the planned closure of the George Carnall Leisure Centre is gathering support as doubts and uncertainty drag on about its planned closure.

The backlash has come from hundreds of users of the centre and many groups who had been promised improvements and expansion of Urmston Leisure Centre, to cope with the anticipated influx of additional users.

When a £24m programme was announced last year by Trafford Leisure Trust, it was anticipated by members of the public that works would be under way, but currently no expansion of Urmston Leisure Centre has occurred and no closure date of George Carnall has yet been announced. Users of the facility have also been given a variety of closing dates by staff with one suggestion it would close as early as September.

Stretford MP Kate Green, who a fortnight ago called on the trust to ditch the closure plan and instead spell out when and how it plans to implement the changes, has now launched a survey on her Facebook page to ask users of George Carnall about the centre and its importance to the Davyhulme community.

A grandmother, Maureen Dickinson has also been in touch with the Messenger after she launched a paper petition to gather the signatures of those not currently able to access an online petition, which has already been signed by more than one thousand people.

She explains: "Following the articles in the Messenger, I find it necessary to put my comments to the concerns of our community.

"I am very concerned about this potential closure as we are leaving our community with no future amenities for our children/grandchildren. Both my grandchildren use the centre for gymnastics and the squash courts, this is giving them an interest in sports for their future instead of seeing them on the streets getting into all sorts of trouble, why as a community, are we standing by and letting this centre go to ruin?

"My grandson will not be able to learn how to play squash if this centre closes as there will be no provision at Urmston."

Mrs Dickinson adds: "I have now collected 300 signatures from people who do not have on line facilities, and these people have all expressed their anger at no consultation with our community, no reason given for withdrawing our leisure facilities, total disregard for the Olympic champions that have been coached and won gold medals for us like Jade Jones, where are these groups now going to continue their training?

"We should be promoting George Carnall and improving this centre rather than pulling it down. Where has the pride gone for our community?

"We need help from all the community here, stand together don't let us lose the centre, like the libraries and the golf course that have been taken from us."

Centre user Mike Reavy, who started the original online petition told the Messenger on Monday: "Now because of the strong opposition to the closure and to save face, the trust, is trying to convince everyone that Urmston will be able to accommodate everyone even though they have already told some sections that their chosen activity will not be available."

In a written response to the Messenger, more of which can be found on out letters page (Messenger 13 July), the chairman of the trust Andy Worthington, says he finds it difficult to understand why people should be concerned about an investment of £24m.

He goes on to explain: "Granted, we are in the early stages of these plans and this may cause some concern to residents and staff. But it does none of us any good to speculate on what might be when we have the facts in front of us and that this is a £24m investment in leisure facilities in Trafford and a commitment that when we move to the planning stage we will fully communicate with all who have a vested interest so they are aware of what is happening and when."

To sign the paper petition go to Card World, 6, Crofts Bank Road, Urmston(M41 0TS) and the online petition go to:https://www.change.org/p/trafford-leisure-keep-george-h-carnall-open-more-people-more-active-more-often/u/20757829