Nobody is more pleased than I am to see the magnificent new sports centre finally open, but perhaps our current euphoria and self-congratulation needs to be tempered by an acknowledgement of the hidden human cost of this project.
When Sherwood Hall was prematurely closed in 2007, without prior consultation of its users, the authorities seemed to be ignorant of the scale of its use by individuals, schools, clubs and other bodies. In the intervening four years it is likely that many older people in particular have been permanently lost to exercise and fitness.
With sports groups losing their regular home base and without adequate help being given to find a suitable relocation, groups have faced disruption and increased expense, and have found it difficult to retain their members.
It is a fact that many talented young athletes, for example, have defected to other clubs in Derbyshire and Notts because of the closure of their training facilities in Matlock.
We all agree that Sherwood Hall was something “out of the Ark”, but however good its replacement by the Arc, what has been lost in the last four years will be difficult to make up.