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Two Lichfield councillors have criticised a plan to keep Friary Grange Leisure Centre closed until October.

Lichfield District Council will reopen Burntwood Leisure Centre on 25th July after the Government eased coronavirus restrictions.

But a report to an overview and scrutiny committee meeting tomorrow (16th July) said Friary Grange Leisure Centre was to remain shuttered for the next few months.

In a joint statement, Cllr Paul Ray and Cllr Joanne Grange said parts of the report were “nonsense”.

Cllr Joanne Grange and Cllr Paul Ray

“The Lichfield community fought so hard last year to save this centre and now closure has been raised again. We and the community will not accept that.

“The report contains various flaws – it implies that COVID-19 has led to a fundamental shift in how people will exercise. We just do not agree.

“Firstly, it’s just too soon to say and, more importantly, COVID-19 has shone a light on key issues in our society that we need to support and tackle: obesity, ageing population, living with chronic illnesses etc. Affordable leisure is key here.

“And while Friary Grange Leisure Centre remains closed there is no public swimming facility in Lichfield.

“Also the report says that Lichfield residents do have the option to travel to the Burntwood Lesisure Centre. That idea was dismissed last summer.

“It was nonsense then and is even more nonsense now.”

Statement from Cllr Paul Ray and Cllr Joanne Grange

The council’s report said the decision to only reopen one centre initially would help mitigate financial risk.

But the councillors said the move would have very little impact.

“The report refers to considerable costs of refurbishing Friary Grange Lesiure Centre – but the council has already made a commitment to the community that that will be done.

“Actually, when you look at the figures what they actually show is that the additional cost of opening Friary Grange Leisure Centre in July as opposed to October is marginal. So let’s get it back opened now.

“We must not forget that Freedom Lesiure have a contract to operate the centre and they should now be actively cleaning and preparing it and promoting it to get membership up.”

Statement from Cllr Paul Ray and Cllr Joanne Grange

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