St Crispin’s Leisure Centre could be handed over to a neighbouring secondary school under plans being recommended to council leaders.

The plans say the number of people using the leisure centre has fallen since the pandemic, while the number of pupils who need to attend St Crispin’s secondary school next door is set to rise.

But the “vast majority” of people said they were against any plans to close the centre, in a consultation of residents.

Wokingham Borough Council says that a “decline in numbers” of people using the centre led it to launch a public consultation on what to do with it earlier this year.

READ MORE: St Crispin’s Leisure Centre users fear loss of community

A total of 940 people took part in the consultation – and 80 per cent of them disagreed or strongly disagreed with closing the leisure centre.

Residents the News spoke to previously said they feared losing a valuable hub for their community. And squash players were especially concerned about losing the only courts in the entire borough.

But a report by council officers to leading councillors said while consultations “assist with decision making” they are only one factor to be taken into account.

The report recommends instead that the leisure centre should be handed over to St Crispin’s School so that it can expand – otherwise the borough could face a shortage of school places in the future.

It says: “School place sufficiency forecasting for Wokingham indicates that the Borough has a total shortage of 1,045 Year 7 places at secondary schools in the next five academic years.

“Failing to secure these extra school places would lead to the need to explore other significantly more costly school expansion options, availability of which are very limited and would not be value for money in a small borough.”

READ MORE: St Crispin’s Leisure Centre future to be decided in November

Under plans apparently already being drafted, St Crispin’s School would use the leisure centre primarily for PE lessons. The leisure centre’s gym would be converted into classrooms and a dance studio.

Meanwhile, the school’s current changing rooms will also become “teaching space.” The council says this would allow the school to provide a total of 330 more school places by September 2028.

It adds that the Circle Trust, which runs St Crispin’s school, “is keen to work with the council and local communities to continue the local squash provision in addition to the current community activities the school provide.”

Members of the council’s community and corporate overview and scrutiny committee were set to look at the plans on Tuesday, November 14, and make their own recommendations to council leaders.

The leading group of councillors – the executive committee – is set to make its decision on November 30.