Deighton Sports Arena is set to be reprieved – for six months at least – after the community fought to keep it open.

Crisis-hit Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL) announced the ‘temporary’ closure of Deighton Sports Arena, Batley Baths & Recreation Centre and the swimming pool at Colne Valley Leisure Centre in Slaithwaite last December.

The Slaithwaite pool re-opened in April but, despite another £6 million cash injection from Kirklees Council, KAL this week confirmed that Batley Baths in Cambridge Street will be shut permanently.

When pressed by Huddersfield Hub for a response about the future of Deighton Sports Arena, the council issued the following statement on behalf of KAL.

A spokesman said: “KAL has agreed to re-open Deighton Sports Arena for six months whilst the council consider alternative options for its management.”

A spokesman for KAL said later: “Although current analysis makes it difficult to viably re-open the facility, whilst options for the longer-term operation of the site are considered, we will be re-opening the facility on a limited hours basis until the end of November 2023.

“Full details of the re-opening date, days and times of opening and the process for booking enquiries will be communicated shortly.”

Kirklees Council and KAL, the charitable trust set up to run the council’s sports and leisure facilities, were forced to put out an urgent statement after Batley & Spen Labour MP Kim Leadbeater revealed that Batley Baths wouldn’t re-open.

Ms Leadbeater (pictured above) said on Tuesday she was “surprised and disappointed” there had been no official announcement from the council when members of the public had been informed of the closure decision.

On Wednesday, a council spokesman said: “Last week, Kirklees Active Leisure informed members of Batley Baths and Recreation Centre of its plans for the facility. This followed consultation with KAL members on alternative provision earlier this year.

“Despite the council’s £6 million support package for KAL in March, they remain under severe financial pressure due to increases in the National Living Wage, inflation and energy costs.

“This is the case for leisure providers across the country and has meant incredibly difficult and disappointing decisions have to be made.

“KAL will continue to work with residents to advise them on alternative ways to access health and fitness services in Kirklees and to make adjustments at other KAL sites to ensure they meet the needs of previous customers at Batley Baths and Recreation Centre.”

Referring to Batley Baths, a spokesman for KAL said: “The decision to keep the site closed is due to the very high level of additional expenditure pressures facing our organisation, the significant costs involved in operating Batley Baths & Recreation Centre and the location of several other KAL managed leisure facilities within the local area.

“We appreciate that staff and customers will be disappointed by this difficult decision.”

Ms Leadbeater said: “I did all that I could to avert this closure, raising the issue in Parliament, consulting with local people and holding numerous meetings with KAL and the council. The Government could have thrown Batley Baths a lifeline but they chose not to do so.

“Government support with energy bills was withdrawn, and while ministers in London promised millions of pounds for public swimming pools and leisure centres, to date not a penny of that has materialised and it is now too late for Batley Baths.

“Cuts to local authorities combined with soaring inflation and fuel costs have imposed impossible pressures on budgets and once again it’s the health and wellbeing of people and communities that suffer.

“At a local level, residents deserve to know why this closure had to happen and, crucially, what alternative arrangements will be made for those who have relied on Batley Baths. When difficult decisions like this have to be taken, people deserve to be told the full facts.

“I have written to Kirklees Council asking for a full explanation of how this happened and what plans they have to mitigate the impact on service users and local residents.”

Campaigners from the public service union Unison have urged the council to “take back control” of sports and leisure centres, saying not bringing them back into public ownership would be a “dereliction of duty.”

Kirklees Council say they have pumped an extra £11 million into KAL over the last four years.

Under questioning at a full council meeting in January, Cabinet member Clr Paul Davies refused to rule out the possibility of the council taking over the management of Deighton Sports Arena.