Thriving roller dance club banned from using leisure centre in Milton Keynes

A roller dance club that has produced national champions over the past 44 years is due to be made homeless after a bizarre ban.

By Sally Murrer
Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 12:55 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 4:47 pm

Milton Keynes Roller Dance Club has been told to get their skates OFF after an order from Bletchley Leisure Centre by InspireAll, which manages the facility on behalf of MK Council.

The club has been told it must leave by September.

“They say our wheels are marking or damaging their floor. This is complete rubbish - our wheels are specially designed for wood and groundwood and are made using non marking material,” said the club’s chief coach Sandra Brisley.

Bletchley Leisure Centre is owned by Mk Council by run by InspireAll

InspireAll, which is a charitable trust formerly known as Hertsmere Leisure, has told the club it paid £14,000 for the sports hall floor to be re-done and it needs to “protect its investment.”

The roller dance club pays £54.50 an hour – £7,500 a year- to hire the sports hall every Saturday morning for its popular lessons. They teach artistic skating -similar to ice dance but on wheels - and their members range from four-year-olds to people in their sixties.

Recently members scooped a second and third place in a British Championships competition.

The club has complained the eviction is “unfair and unjust” and are worried they will be unable to find another place to hold their classes.

Milton Keynes Roller Dance Club members use the leisure centre sports hall on Saturday mornings

Sandra said: “The floor at the leisure centre is not being degraded by our activity. It is clearly other users that are causing the problems.

"We have to sweep the floor before we can skate as even the smallest stones can dead stop our soft wheels, causing falls and injuries. We have regularly been cleaning up drinks spills and scraping the chewing gum off the floor left by other users during the week.”

Sadly it’s not the first time the roller skaters have been turned away from premises, she said.

"We had the same issue at Oakgrove, then we were banned from Hazeley as they wanted to turn the floor over to basketball.. Quite frankly, we are sick of being victimised as we are not an ‘elite’ sport.

“Skating is an easy target but we have not had one instance of our wheels damaging any floor since we started in 1978… Our skate wheels are specially made so they don’t cause any damage.”

The Citizen contacted InspireAll and a spokesman said: “InspireAll are a non-profit charitable organisation and have recently paid for the investment of the sports hall which cost in excess of £14k. We therefore have taken the decision to protect our investment and ensure bookings taken forward will not damage this investment.”

InspireAll was established to provide and promote community sport, recreational and arts services.

It manages facilities owned by Hertsmere Borough Council, Hertfordshire County Council and Milton Keynes Council. It is also the Lead Agency selected by Hertfordshire County Council to develop 35 Family Centres in Hertfordshire.

In Milton Keynes, InspireAll also manages other community facilities including Tattenhoe Sports Pavilion, Monkston Park Community Centre, Crownhill Sports Ground and Crownhill Meeting Place.