Four leisure centres in Cornwall are under threat of closure. They are run by a private company, Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) who say they are struggling to continue, due to the pressure on finances caused by the Covid-19 lockdown when the centres, like many other businesses, were forced to close and suffered a loss of income.
Cornwall Council says it cannot help the company running centres at Wadebridge, Launceston, Saltash and Falmouth to continue to keep them open, as while good leisure provision helps people of all ages stay healthy, active and socially connected, Cornwall Council does not have a statutory duty to provide leisure centres.
North Cornwall’s MP Scott Mann has offered an update on the proposed closure of the leisure centres. Two of the GLL centres which are being considered for closure by their parent company GLL are within Mr Mann’s North Cornwall constituency (Wadebridge and Launceston).
“I strongly oppose any decision to close the leisure centres,” said Scott Mann. “Whilst this is a matter for the local authority and not Westminster, I am doing what I can to try and resolve the situation. If GLL does decide it wants to close the sites, then I believe they should gradually transfer control over to a community-led organisation that has support from the Council.”
Since the news broke that several of Cornwall’s leisure centres were under threat, Scott and other Cornish MPs have been making this case to GLL and Cornwall Council both in public and private, meeting with members of both Launceston and Wadebridge Town Councils and their Cornwall Councillors at County Hall.
“I have made it quite clear to the Cabinet Member and Council Officer responsible for leisure that my constituents want their centres to stay open,” continues Scott Mann. “My colleagues and I in Parliament are working with all stakeholders to ensure the leisure centres are accessible for the community. I have also held a meeting with Swim England to get a better understanding of the bigger picture.”
His office adds:
Ultimately, the contract to outsource the leisure centres to GLL was put in place by the previous Cornwall Council administration run by the Lib-Dems and Independents, and the current Conservative-led administration is somewhat constrained by what has already been signed. Scott is of the view that the contract was terribly put together and has too many “get out of jail” clauses in it, which is what GLL are using to try and remove these loss-making leisure centres from their books. With enough support from everyone involved, hopefully, it will be possible to safeguard Cornwall’s leisure centres for the long term.
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