A PIONEERING centre for sport which has stood in the town centre for more than four decades has closed with the loss of 20 jobs.
The English Table Tennis Association (ETTA) is making 20 people redundant from its offices in Queensbury House, Havelock Road, and four remote staff and one regional employee have also lost their jobs in the move.
The decision to relocate to Milton Keynes is part of ETTA’s plan to modernise itself as a sports governing body.
Sara Sutcliffe, EETA’s chief executive, said: “It has been 40 years of rich history in Hastings and 40 years of evolution of the sport. But it’s time for the ETTA to move to a central England location and to follow the growing trend of sharing resources and best practice with other sports governing bodies.
“For the first two years in Milton Keynes we will be in a standard office but a new sports complex is being built and we will be moving in there with Badminton England once it’s complete. We will be able to share resources with Badminton England, and importantly the head office of the ETTA and the sport will all be under one roof as we will be able to bring athletes and coaches into the same environment.”
David Berriman, who has lost his job as national coach which he has had since 2004, said: “I am very sad about it because my background is in the sport, as a player and as a coach. And I feel, as others do, that the decision has been rather rushed and perhaps not necessary at this time. A lot of people are disappointed.
“I can understand their reasons but I think it’s going to be difficult for people in the new offices to the deliver the same level of service to the table tennis community.”
ETTA, which boasts a turnover of £4 million and a healthy membership, vacated Queensbury House yesterday (Thursday).
Ms Sutcliffe added: “It’s a chapter in history. Hastings has been really important in the development of table tennis and we are of course very sad to be losing a number of valued members of staff.”