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Lichfield’s leisure centre could remain closed until October, a Lichfield District Council report has confirmed.

The Government has given the green light for facilities to reopen from 25th July.

But only Burntwood Leisure Centre will reopen in the district with Friary Grange remaining shut.

Friary Grange Leisure Centre

A report to a meeting of an overview and scrutiny committee this week has now revealed that Lichfield will be without its leisure provision for another three months.

The council cited a number of reasons for the decision, including the challenges of the site at Friary Grange.

“Only re-opening one centre initially mitigates the additional costs and manages the financial risk.

“One centre will likely be sufficient to meet the initial demand which is anticipated to be low.

“The facilities that lend themselves to social distancing at Friary Grange – the artificial pitch and sports hall – transferred to the management of The Friary School in May.

“The remaining facilities are much smaller spaces which will have very limited capacity under social distancing conditions.”

Lichfield District Council report on reopening of leisure centres

The council’s own figures revealed that before coronavirus, Burntwood Leisure Centre averaged 11,500 visits a month, with the site in Lichfield welcoming less than 3,500 a month.

“Older people are more nervous about returning to leisure centres”

Friary Grange Leisure Centre

The report also revealed that the demographic of the users had also been taken into account.

“A greater proportion of Friary Grange users are older people, with more than a quarter of members aged 65 or older.

“Research indicates older people are more nervous about returning to leisure centres.

“While Friary Grange remains closed, officers and Freedom Leisure will work with Friary Grange users to support their access to other facilities on a temporary basis.

“The post-lockdown performance of Burntwood will be subject to weekly operational reviews and monthly formal reviews.

“The performance of Burntwood – in particular the returning demand – will be used to inform decisions on the restoration of service at Friary Grange.”

Lichfield District Council report on reopening of leisure centres

The report will be discussed at an overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Thursday (16th July).

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5 Comments

  1. Am I the only person who feels a little bit unsettled by this? It appears that the council is already starting to make a case for low user numbers which would give it the chance to do the job it intended to do last year on the leisure centre? I always felt at the time that it was very unlike the council to back down from the plan quite so easily. After all, when have they ever worried what the people think before? Coronavirus may well have given them their chance to do what they always planned to do.

  2. So closing them over the summer break when most people are not able to holiday away is a good idea? The council is ramping up the payments in spite of the fact that there is no service.
    Either our councillors are corrupt or stupid. If they are normal there is no hope for any of us.
    It is OUR money paying for the few facilities the LDC offer. Make them available or stop the payments and reduce the rates.

  3. @norman – They’ve emailed me and stated that the membership has been frozen and will be restarted when it opens. I believe you can head to Burntwood to use it (they’d be mad not to allow that).

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