Huthwaite leisure centre faces closure

Huthwaite Leisure Centre faces closure by Ashfield District Council, but residents are fighting to keep it open as a community project.
Huthwaite Leisure Centre faces closure by Ashfield District Council, but residents are fighting to keep it open as a community project.

Huthwaite Leisure Centre faces closure in six months unless a community group or business comes forward to run the facility.

Ashfield District Council approved the proposal at in a Cabinet meeting on January 20.

The council said while exploring these alternative options, the operator Sport Leisure Management Ltd (SLM) will be given six months’ notice.

It said it is open to proposals which “may or may not have a leisure focus.”

Huthwaite Leisure Centre currently costs the council £79,930 each year to manage.

Coun Jim Aspinall, portfolio holder for health and wellbeing said: “We had the highest number of people turn up for the consultation that we’ve ever had, which reflects the interest in the leisure centres.

“The costs per visit are high compared and amount to £5.23 compared to 0.20 pence for the Lammas leisure centre.”

“It is unsustainable. Our officers have worked tirelessly to find a solution that was acceptable for all but we will seek approvable bids.”

“We will not be in a position to have a financial involvement.”

A public consultation in August 2016 showed support for refocusing council funds on Lamma,, Hucknall and Kirkby Leisure Centre with 56 per cent of respondents agreeing with this proposal.

Coun Jackie James, portfolio Holder for Corporate Services: “This is a super sad situation but we have to make sure we a living within our means. This is about getting the best value for money for the residents of Ashfield. Times, blood, sweat and tears went into looking at any light we could see to give financial support. It’s just not feasible. We are struggling under cuts to the budget.”

“It is a good opportunity for the community if someone can provide funding and innovative ideas to take on Huthwaite and run with it.

It’s unfortunate that we can’t support that.

The council has also said the Edgewood Leisure Centre will remain open and has approved proposals to review swimming facilities in Hucknall.