ROWING legend Sir Steve Redgrave says his planned sports institute would ensure Chester schools realise the promised Olympic legacy.
Education watchdog Ofsted has found more than a quarter of schools in England do not provide enough physical activity and are failing to improve pupils’ fitness.
Inspectors said more needed to be done to capitalise on the success of London 2012 and have urged the Department for Education to introduce a new national strategy for PE and school sport.
Labour has accused the government of letting schools down by cutting some school sport funding and ending the recommendation for two hours of PE in schools each week.
Sir Steve, who won gold medals at five consecutive Olympic Games, wants to bring his proposed Redgrave Institute to Chester and believes the facility will benefit local schools and create a lasting Olympic legacy for the city.
He said: “When we chose Chester as our location it was because of the encouragement of both Cheshire West and Chester Council and Sport Cheshire.
“Having them as partners and their continued commitment to engage with us in the extra programmes we could deliver was vital to our programmes success.
“We have already been seen at schools in and around Blacon, Queens Park High and Northwich and our programmes are extending further in to the borough.”
Sir Steve said his institute would include an elite fitness suite, sports science laboratory and physiotherapy suite and would be open to the whole community.
But he believes it needs to be built alongside Bell Developments’ failed student village.
Sir Steve said: “Of course we are hopeful we will be able to house our institute within the student village and this Ofsted report highlights just how critical our work will be within the community.
“I am thankful to the many schools and parents who supported us and testified to the good work we are carrying out in the schools.
“It is the Redgrave Institute model, working with its education partners, that allows us to create the economies of scale to make this vital community work deliverable and sustainable.
“I believe together we can make the borough’s schools the envy of the UK, with the very best fit and healthy children all having the opportunity to engage with and enjoy all sports for a healthier future. Now that is an Olympic legacy worth fighting for.”
Last month planning chiefs threw out the proposed 2,300-bed village and sports institute scheme.
Hundreds of people packed into Chester West and Chester HQ to see the proposals rejected by the narrowest of margins by the planning committee – five to four.
Campaigners fought a two-year battle against the proposed development, which was intended for green belt land between Saughall and Mollington.
Bell Developments have said they are planning to appeal and are considering the options available to them.