Under-threat Sheffield leisure centre handed one-month reprieve

A demonstration outside Stocksbridge Leisure Centre against proposals to close it.
A demonstration outside Stocksbridge Leisure Centre against proposals to close it.
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STOCKSBRIDGE Leisure Centre is to stay open for a further month after Sheffield Council agreed to give more time for an alternative solution to be found instead of closure.

The authority is proposing to shut the facility, because it costs £400,000 a year in subsidy - £3 per visit and six times the per-visit cost to the council of other leisure centres.

A new centre is planned for the north of Sheffield using up to £2 million of Government and health service funding.

However, Stocksbridge residents have campaigned against closure, because they say other leisure centres are too far to travel to – and hundreds turned out for a demonstration last weekend.

Coun Alison Brelsford, Sheffield Council Liberal Democrat member for Stocksbridge, called for funding for the new centre to instead be invested in a revamp of Stocksbridge, so it is cheaper to run and kept open.

She said: “A new centre could be years away from development and halfway across the city. If funding is available it should be invested in Stocksbridge, so our community facility can be saved.”

At a full council meeting, ruling Labour members agreed funding to subsidise the existing leisure centre for a further month.

Coun Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “We want to help Stocksbridge Town Council explore options to keep the leisure centre open.

“No-one wants to see services close or have funding withdrawn, but we have been put in the unpalatable position of having less money from the Government.

“However, if no sustainable solution is found before the deadline of the end of April to fund the centre, we will not be able to subsidise it further.”