AN academy has struck a deal to continue using a Barnoldswick sports centre for PE lessons after months of uncertainty.

West Craven High School in Barnoldswick has used the adjacent sports centre for many years.

But after it became an academy in September last year, bosses at Pendle Education Trust announced they were to end a deal to use the facility because it was ‘not financially viable’.

Councillors had warned if the school quit the centre it would be a ‘massive blow’ for pupils and would undermine the future viability of the sports centre.

Now a deal signed between the school and Pendle Leisure Trust will see them continue to have extensive use of the facilities throughout the week.

Bosses at the school said it is a ‘highly-valued facility to complement the school’s state of the art 3G pitch, grass playing field and school gym.

Dean Wilson, assistant headteacher, said: “We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with Pendle Leisure Trust over the use of the sports centre for PE.

“The sports centre is a highly-valued local facility and we have a long-standing relationship with the trust over access for PE lessons.

“We are proud of this relationship and we are happy to be able to continue this going forward.”

Barnoldswick councillor David Whipp, who campaigned to get the sports centre built more than 20 years ago, said he was delighted an agreement had been signed.

He said: “The sports hall opened 20 years ago this August. There are a whole series of agreements that have never been signed. The sports centre was operated on good will.

“I am delighted to report that these agreements have now been signed off and just this week the final lease was signed.

“I am hopeful that the centre will be able to find fresh users.

“It is one of the reasons it was built and it would have been distressing if the schoolchildren could not enjoy the same facilities as their predecessors.

He said the school had been contributing around £40,000 a year towards the upkeep of the centre and the payment is now ‘much less’.

The Pendle Education Trust would not reveal how much they are contributing.