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Petition launched over plans by Lichfield District Council to shut Friary Grange Leisure Centre

A petition has been launched in a bid to prevent The Friary Grange Leisure Centre from closing.

Friary Grange Leisure Centre
Friary Grange Leisure Centre

Lichfield District Council has confirmed plans to pull out of the site in April 2020.

The local authority claims that the centre would need at least £2.4million spent to bring it up to standard, despite a £500,000 makeover in 2013 and an update to the gym facilities in the following year.

But residents have now launched a petition in a bid to keep Lichfield’s remaining leisure centre after the council pulled out of King Edward VI Leisure Centre in 2017, handing it over to the school – a move which now looks to be replicated with The Friary School.

It means that only Burntwood Leisure Centre remains as a council-run leisure centre in the district.

After the local authority appointed Freedom Leisure to manage the centres under its control, Cllr Iain Eadie – the current deputy leader – claimed in 2017 that move would provide “the best possible services for local people”.

Iain Eadie
Iain Eadie

He said: “Where Freedom has taken over the operation of leisure centres in other areas of the country, such as Wrexham and Arun, participation levels have gone up, significant investment into the facilities has taken place, and local communities have responded well to the wider opportunities to live healthier, more active lifestyles, and to make the most of their leisure time.

“Outsourcing the management of our leisure centres will help us to use our resources effectively, while providing the best possible services for local people.”

“Hugely wasteful projects”

Petition organiser Matt Wilson said it was unacceptable for the council to leave the city without leisure facilities at a time when millions was spent on the aborted Friarsgate redevelopment.

“Lichfield District Council have stated that keeping the leisure centre operating is not a good use of taxpayers money,” he said. In a country and city facing an obesity crisis, I disagree.

“We must keep the leisure centre and pool open, to create an affordable and inclusive leisure facility for Lichfield residents.

“The council needs to prioritise the health and wellbeing of Lichfield residents, focus on keeping the leisure centre, and spend less resources on hugely wasteful projects such as Friarsgate.”

The warning signs over the future of Friary Grange Leisure Centre have been evident in recent times, with an unplanned closure after issues with the building were discovered, and discussions around the site held behind closed doors at Lichfield District Council.

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18 Comments

  1. bill

    13th July, 2019 at 11:26 am

    Ian Eadie (also responsible for the Brown Bin Tax) is a prized cretin, and that’s putting it politely. The only thing he is concerned about is his own profile. How can so much change in 24 months?? The man can’t be trusted, neither can the wider council. They are in it for themselves.

  2. AnnS

    13th July, 2019 at 11:31 am

    I’ve signed the petition and shared it, urging my family and friends on facebook to so the same. I just hope the petition will have the desired effect, but I fear it may not.

  3. AnnS

    13th July, 2019 at 11:52 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more #bill

  4. AgitatorofPeople

    13th July, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    No point petitioning, petitions dont work with LDC or SCC you get a couple of minutes to state your position then the majority conservative council who have all pre discussed the response will basically shout it down and move against the position.
    Many people with placards making a noise about how shit this council is, outside the council offices will however get them thinking, summer holidays are coming parents & kids, get rebelling!

  5. Lorraine

    13th July, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    I have grown up in lich and the only thing left in lich for kids to go out do is swimming and yet u take last thing away from them that they enjoy going out to do that’s sporty and keeps them fit plz don’t take away the pool from lich I had so many good memories there and also that’s where all school children go to learn to swim with out that they cannot learn the skills that we all was learnt from there x

  6. Steve

    13th July, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    The council is bankrupt. Financially and morally.

    This shows any words about Friarsgate and a new cinema, public consultation….. is all lies. It will become a housing estate.

    It’s all stick together, look after your mates and do all you can to get a knighthood or some honour.

  7. Chris

    13th July, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    Elected officials do things to benefit those who elect them. Those who will perpetually elect the Tories have private gym memberships, and don’t care about those who use the Friary. Those who need things from govt, local or national, are those least likely to vote so least likely to get what they need.

    This is exactly the sort of thing that should inspire a town to rise up and take control of their council, unfortunately a few months too late for that, and in Lichfield the majority are far too comfortable and apathetic, particularly at the loss of facilities they don’t use.

    It can be done.
    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jun/12/how-to-take-over-your-town-the-inside-story-of-a-local-revolution

  8. Steve

    13th July, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    Campaigners are celebrating a “significant victory” after a judge quashed a council’s decision to close Pontllanfraith leisure centre.

    Caerphilly council claimed closing the centre could save £120,000 a year and £500,000 in repairs.

    However Mr Justice Jonathan Swift ruled it had failed in its equality duty when deciding to close the facility.

    However Mr Justice Swift agreed that the council had not met its obligations under the Equality Act 2010 when taking the decision to close the centre.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-48745785

  9. C Cole

    13th July, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    Staffs county council and Lichfield district council have both had fatalities in water they are responsible for – chasewater and Stowe Pool in recent weeks – so what do they do ? They shut the only public pool in the city which many of the local primary schools use for swimming lessons – we need a noisy protest on Tuesday at the council meeting in frog lane

  10. Lynne Hinsley

    13th July, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    This is a disgrace! Despite the fact that Lichfield is expanding from new housing and therefore population, we are going from bad to worse! For years we have had to share The Friary leisure centre with SCC and schools. Yet we have friends in other parts of the country who can choose where they swim in the day and the evening! As an ex Swimming teacher I can vouch for how important it is as a form of healthy exercise and recovery therapy from major and minor illness, as well as for enjoyment and well being!
    We are going backwards, not forwards! I am in a band E Council tax and have very little to show for it! All the new housing is more Council Tax so what is it being used on?
    I have lived in this city since 1964, brought up 2 children here, one of which is a member of Lichfield Swimming Club, of which I was one of the first members! My son is Staffordshire champion in several events, West Midlands in 3 and Midlands champion in 1. We need a new pool, NOT the closure of the only existing one!
    From one very disgruntled local resident!

  11. Pam Easto

    13th July, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    Build a new leisure facility on the Friarsgate site, which will enable local residents easy access. Sharing friary grange with a large school is never going to be ideal anyway, Then put some trees around the new centre to give a much needed green space in the centre of the city. Incorporate a cinema too, and make the area around the theatre the leisure hub.

  12. roger hornsby

    14th July, 2019 at 12:18 am

    I find the whole episode farcical … local councils are controlled ultimately by Westminster .and for example westminster allow an eighty five million pound cost to tax payers on a “u” turn and ultimate collapse of the proposed brexit ferry project under transport minister chris grayling and I’m certain this is one of a number of failures … they all are experts in the total mismanagement of financial budgets that spread right out to all councils
    Lichfield has to have a Leisure centre that supports the local community on so many levels , and the financial amount required is incidental compared to the continual financial wastage going on up and down the country

    Time to get behind lichfield friary with total support

    Hopefully Michael Fabricant MP
    Should now start to show real interest in supporting the wishes of his constituents for which he was duly elected upon

  13. Justin Finch

    14th July, 2019 at 8:21 am

    I’m sick of this local council. Contemplating moving out of the area because I’m tired of their failure to support the local community. Shops are closing down because the city centre needs a fresh strategy (Not just pop up markets) based on supporting local retailers vs online. Give people a reason for shopping in the centre such as more entertainment for young families and exclusive online beating discounts for local residents who pay council tax. Let’s be honest with the current rate new housing development, this will equate to more council tax revenue! The area needs more family friendly facilities…..closure should not be an option. As for the local MP, the less said the better!

  14. Jules

    14th July, 2019 at 10:00 am

    The developers in Streethay offered to build a leisure centre as part of the hiusing development. The council asked for a car park instead as that would bring an income into the council.

  15. Alan Wilson

    14th July, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    I know a lot of people who are seriously considering moving out of Lichfield because of this council and it’s catastrophic performance. It’s literally done NOTHING positive to support the community. It has singlehandedly lost the community millions of pounds with Friarsgate – a site which is STILL boarded up – years after the Ford garage was needlessly closed down. Every month there’s another scandal about one of its councillors involved in dodgy deals or non disclosure of business interests. Now it wants to close the only Leisure Centre in the city…despite Eadie assuring us of its future less than 2 years ago.

    I dearly love this city however, I’m not sure how much longer I can tolerate living in it as long as this council continues to show nothing but contempt for the people who live here.

  16. Johnneo

    14th July, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    what a coincidence this was announced after the recent local elections, did they think it could lose them votes. I don’t think it would make much difference if they absconded with the council funds to the Bahamas they would still be elected.
    If the building is in such bad condition how come the school will still be able to use it and not the public?

  17. Chris

    14th July, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    It’s not those who keep voting in the Tories no matter how bad they make things who are to blame, it’s those who don’t bother to vote at all.

  18. Robyn Fawcett

    14th July, 2019 at 11:53 pm

    What about the people that don’t have the luxury of a car or cant’t afford the cost of public transport? Or the fact there are less buses running to Burntwood and back now. These same people that can’t afford David Lloyd’s prices, what about the teenagers who have nowhere to go except the Friary? I think it’s so damaging short and long term for our community, it’s fair enough suggesting building a new leisure centre but what are we suppose to do in the mean time?

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