Curling set to sweep in to a barn near us
Published: 24 Jan 2014 17:300 comments
The English Curling Association hopes to transform a disused barn at Hayley Green Farm into a sporting success story.
Support for the plans has arrived from across the globe, with people writing to Bracknell Forest Council from Switzerland, Germany and the United States to back the proposals.
Stephen Hinds, who is masterminding the project, believes it could attract a new generation of players to the game.
He said: “Curling is a sport you can learn very quickly but it takes a very long time to master. It is a bit like golf – you can be playing it for 40 years and still improve.
“People can get a lot of enjoyment out of it and learn the basics in 45 minutes. It is open to a lot of people; you don’t have to be really muscly or fit.”
Mr Hinds did not wish to comment on how much the renovation would cost, and admitted he originally hoped to have the centre open in time for the Winter Olympics, which start next month.
He said: “We wanted to get it open a couple of months ago but we had to finalise some of the plans. What we want to do is to get it open as soon as possible – possibly for a couple of months in the summer – and get any teething problems out the way.”
Mr Hinds said if the plans go through it would create three new jobs and could be open between October and April.
The only other dedicated curling rink in England is based near Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and Mr Hinds said people travel from as far away as Leamington Spa to play the game.
Almost 40 people have written to Bracknell Forest Council supporting the plans – which include a 1,560 sq m building housing the rink and an 18-space car park.
Beate Bohlander, vice president of German Curling Club Mannheim, said: “We would be happy to come on curling bonspiels and could imagine a club-partnership with regular annual visits or training camps.
“Also combined curling and English-language training camps for youngsters would be appreciated.”
One person has objec-ted to the plan – citing traffic concerns – and asked that if permission is granted, alcohol is not served at the site.