Coach unhappy with cut to track hours

Andrew Irving, Halifax Harriers sprint coach, outside Spring Hall Athletics Track, Halifax.
Andrew Irving, Halifax Harriers sprint coach, outside Spring Hall Athletics Track, Halifax.

An athletics coach from Halifax says he is disappointed by the council’s decision to cut the opening hours of the Spring Hall sports facility.

The track will be closed on Fridays and Sundays from May 1, and only open to the public on Monday and Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings.

Andy Irving, who is a sprint coach with the Halifax Harriers, says the changes send out the wrong message to people in the region.

He said: “It’s so disappointing and it sends out completely the wrong message. The problem is it’s supposed to be a community facility but 12 hours a week isn’t much.

“It’s also closed Friday and Sunday so you can only use it three or four hours a weekend. It doesn’t leave much chance for an Olympic legacy as far as athletics goes.

“They are shortening the opening hours at the very start of the first full track season after the Olympics. It’s dreadful.

“I understand that savings have to be made but it’s about the relativity of those savings.

Tuesday and Thursday nights at the track will be reserved for Halifax Harriers training, but Mr Irving says the shortened opening hours are affecting the athletes’ sessions.

He said: “We have Yorkshire and West Yorkshire champions at the club and we need to train more than two nights a week. We used to train four nights a week but we can’t do that now.

“We’re having to fit in at different times and not have the times at the track that we want. It’s the only track for several miles and our local track.

“The club has got so successful and such a big membership that it’s far too busy at the track to train the sprinters properly because everyone’s cramming in to use the track when it’s open.”