Kirklees Council has backed down over the closure threat to two popular leisure centres.
The council has earmarked both Colne Valley Leisure Centre at Slaithwaite and Batley Sports & Tennis Centre at Howden Clough for closure.
But now, following a public consultation which had 18,000 responses, the council has agreed to keep open both centres.
A report is due to go to Cabinet next week but the council has released the information earlier than planned.
The third leisure centre originally earmarked for closure, Dewsbury Sports Centre, already shut due to potentially unsafe concrete, will be shut down permanently.
Deighton Sports Arena will remain open temporarily until April 2024 while the Stadium Health & Fitness Club at the John Smith’s Stadium closes today (November 30).
Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL), which runs leisure centres on behalf of Kirklees Council, is pulling out of the stadium and moving its HQ by Christmas.
Kirklees Stadium Development Ltd, which owns the stadium, is to work with the council to find a new private operator for the gym.
There was anger as KAL only gave members a week’s notice that the stadium gym was to shut. It is understood that some stadium gym members were still paying reduced membership fees as part of a special deal when they were forced to move from the Canalside gym when Huddersfield Town closed its training complex to the public.
Huddersfield Town’s new owner Kevin Nagle recently said that he would look into the possibility of taking over the stadium gym.
Council leader Clr Cathy Scott said: “When we launched this review, we said we would leave no stone unturned in maintaining access to health and fitness services for as many local people as we possibly could.
“That’s why we’ve been working hard with KAL and others to reduce costs, model future income and take on board all the feedback from residents.
“As a result of that work, we’ve been able to build a viable case for keeping Colne Valley Leisure Centre and Batley Sports & Tennis Centre open alongside six other KAL-run centres. This is a much wider offer than we were able to make a few weeks ago.
“I want to say a big thank you to everyone who took part in the consultation. We never doubted how important these centres are to local communities. But this consultation has also given us hugely valuable information about how customers want to use their centres and changes KAL can make so that their facilities are as financially viable as possible. Your views and ideas have really made a difference.
“The important thing now is to see this public support maintained over the coming years. If we can boost memberships, usage and fundraising, KAL leisure centres have a positive future.
“But we need to face facts, it’s still a tough financial environment for councils and leisure operators across the country. Our leisure centres need ongoing support from the council and communities for the foreseeable future.
“Unfortunately, there are no easy answers for Dewsbury Sports Centre. The building needs significant investment to make it safe and fit for purpose. This means we are unable to re-open it but we will work with the local community to explore future options.”
A report to Cabinet on December 12 will be published on Monday December 4. However, here’s what the report will recommend:
- Batley Sports & Tennis Centre – remain open.
- Bradley Park Golf Course – remain open.
- Colne Valley Leisure Centre - remain open.
- Holmfirth Pool & Fitness Centre – remain open.
- Huddersfield Leisure Centre – remain open.
- Leeds Road Sports Complex – remain open.
- Scissett Baths & Fitness Centre – remain open.
- Spen Valley Leisure Centre – remain open.
- Deighton Sports Arena – remains open under current limited opening hours until April 2024. Further discussions with the community to devise long term plan.
- Stadium Health and Fitness Club – KAL have already served notice to exit the site by Christmas 2023 and will close to the public on November 30. The council will now work with KSDL to look for another operator to take on the site.
- Dewsbury Sports Centre – Site remains unsafe to reopen due to RAAC. Given the level of investment required to reopen safely, the centre will stay closed while the council explores future options, including feasibility of re-opening dry side facilities.