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Lib Dem councillor demands urgent answers over continued closure of Friary Grange Leisure Centre in Lichfield

A Lichfield councillor has called for urgent answers on the continued closure of Friary Grange Leisure Centre.

The site has been closed for several days after a fault was discovered with a fire alarm panel.

As well as closing the leisure centre facilities, the issue has also impacted on buildings within the neighbouring Friary School.

A spokesperson for the school said they had received an email with “no notice or dialogue”.

One of the tweets from the Friary School raising concerns about the closure

The leisure centre is managed by Freedom Leisure following a decision by Lichfield District Council to outsource the running of leisure facilities in the area.

But Liberal Democrat Councillor Paul Ray said residents and the school needed answers from Freedom Leisure and Lichfield District Council.

Paul Ray
Cllr Paul Ray

“This is very serious,” he told Lichfield Live. “I am particularly concerned about what seems to be poor communication from Freedom Leisure to the school and the length of time it has taken them to arrange for an engineer to fix the issue.

“I want to understand the steps that are being taken and why there has been such a delay in getting the centre re-opened.

“This is obviously causing great inconvenience to the school and members of the public who use the Friary Grange Leisure Centre.

“I have tonight contacted Cllr David Leytham, Cabinet member at Lichfield District Council who oversees the operation of the leisure facilities in the district, on these issues and asked for an update from him.

“I will also be speaking to Matt Allman, the headteacher at the Friary School in the morning to get further information and to see what I can further do to resolve this issue urgently.”

“Sincere apologies”

Freedom Leisure confirmed that it was continuing to seek a solution to the problem.

The swimming pool at Friary Grange Leisure Centre
The swimming pool at Friary Grange Leisure Centre

“Friary Grange Leisure Centre is currently closed due to a fault which developed on the fire alarm panel early in the evening on Friday,” a spokesperson said.

“We are working with Staffordshire County Council and our leisure partner Lichfield District Council to be able to reopen the facilities as quickly as possible.

“We offer our most sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused and thank customers for their patience – latest updates will be available on the centre web page and social media pages.”

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9 Comments

  1. wilf

    13th February, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    A sign of things to come as Lichfield District Council pretend they’re really clever by getting things off the books but then realising they can’t tell their arses from their elbows and have left loopholes in contracts that allow the management company to not fix things in a timely fashion or not be liable.

    Of course, the reality of who is to blame will all not be able to be uncovered because the use of a private company to run the site means any debates and discussions will be private due to the involvement of an external commercial company.

    Trebles all round at Lichfield District Council as they realise these sorts of deals allow you to stuff the cupboards full of skeletons safe in the knowledge that no-one will ever find the key.

  2. C palfrey

    13th February, 2019 at 10:26 pm

    The council should be embarrassed about the state of the leisure centre at Lichfield. Freedom leisure won the contract to run both Burntwood and Lichfield yet have only put money and resources into Burntwood. The bare minimum has been done at Lichfield and it seems like freedom is hopping the building is no longer fit for purpose so they no longer have the inconvenience that is the friary leisure centre.

  3. Steve

    14th February, 2019 at 9:42 am

    I wonder if there are discussions taking place between Freedoms solicitors and LDC’s solicitors, as to who should pay for this.

    So many contracts are so wieghted towards the private sector party. If they make money, they keep it. If there are large expenses, LDC suddenly find they are liable for the full cost, admin fees and also a mark up.

  4. John O

    14th February, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Thursday morning and still no information on freedom leisure website regarding friary grange closure, only clue is some activities listed as cancelled. We don’t all do social media so what’s the point in having a website and not informing your customers. Not good enough freedom leisure.

  5. John Griffin

    14th February, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Freedom have form in this, not putting money into some centres. Can be found online. Also why the hell didn’t LDC no start up their own trust – they could have. They couldn’t be bothered with actually doing something intelligent, so continued with the easy way, lining pockets. The £1.5m spent on Burntwood leisure could’ve come from the Friarsgate disaster fund that’s still giving to select consultants AND Friary upgraded, AND staff paid a decent wage.

  6. Richard

    15th February, 2019 at 9:50 am

    One of the floodlights on the AstroTurf has been out since October but they still haven’t replaced it. The walk from the car park to the AstroTurf pitches is in complete darkness and is a compo claim waiting to happen. This latest incident (shutting the whole place for a faulty panel) seems absurd. There’s something not right with that place.

  7. LetsGiveItASpin

    17th February, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    The council director is the same director behind the friargate shambles, so another property shambles under his watch . We can guess how this one will play out now

  8. J

    20th February, 2019 at 10:47 am

    Nearly a fortnight now and still no sign of reopening or any updates on progress of repairs. Makes me wonder whether things are more serious than they say. Not fully convinced that previous refurb in 2013 entirely successful as roof had to be redone and new additions regularly malfunction. If this isn’t resolved soon you will be losing customers to the new gym by Lidl.
    As for the advice to use burntwood centre unfortunately the journey is now hampered by roadworks on Walsall road substantially increasing the travelling time.

  9. John Griffiin

    20th February, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    As posted before, apparently par for the course for Freedom with the less £££worthy centres.

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