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Rising coronavirus infection rates across Lichfield and Burntwood could prevent the reopening of Friary Grange Leisure Centre, councillors have been told.

Friary Grange Leisure Centre

The facility is scheduled to welcome back users for the first time on 24th October after closing at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cllr Richard Cox, cabinet member responsible for leisure at Lichfield District Council, told a meeting of the local authority earlier this week that the date was still the target for all facilities to reopen.

But Cllr Alan White – who is also the leader of Staffordshire County Council – said there could be no guarantees given the increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Lichfield and Burntwood.

Cllr Alan White

“I just want to inject a note of potential doom and gloom around opening of leisure centres I’m afraid.

“The COVID assessment for Staffordshire is set at medium, but that is only certain until 21st October.

“As people will know there are three levels, and contained within that framework are the actions that are required to be undertaken by local authorities in the event that we move from one to the other.

“The current direction of travel for infection rates is upwards.

“I do hope that we are able to contain that across the district, but it would be remiss of us to assume 24th October is a given should anything change with the outbreak with COVID-19 across the district.”

Cllr Alan White

Lichfield and Burntwood has seen a rise in the number of cases in recent weeks, with residents urged to “redouble” their efforts to prevent the virus from spreading.

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6 Comments

  1. Given we’re a week away from opening date, it was good to hear confirmation from Cllr Cox that we’re on track to open on 24 October, and that all services would be available from that date and I look forward to booking my first exercise class and gym session since March. I also look forward to seeing the active marketing over the coming week from both LDC and Freedom Leisure to ensure users are aware that activities can be booked through the website.

    Of course, Cllr White is correct that if we are unfortunate enough to be placed in tier 3 of restrictions before next Saturday, with restrictions like Liverpool rather than Lancashire where gyms can stay open, the council will have no choice other than to delay, yet again, the opening of FGLC and also close Burntwood Leisure Centre. However, as the pool can take up to 2 weeks to bring up to operating temperature, and staff need notice to be brought back from furlough, as it stands, with Lichfield in tier 1, I’d like to think the plans for re-opening are well advanced at this stage.

  2. Have just received a letter from freedom leisure confirming the reopening on 24th October. Then hallelujah reading further on its closing for all of December for necessary refurbishment.
    Surely that should have been done during the closure!

  3. Given the huge disparity in infection levels (at last look we were way down the table) , even if Tier3 is an imposition on inner cities and largely Labour controlled (the two are often coterminous), as neither an inner city nor vaguely left of Farage, and with the blind God of Parliament our MP, I expect us to be safe. If we aren’t, then thanks to all the Kippers and gammon publicly refusing to wear masks and insulting those requesting they socially distance (assuming we accept the 29% contribution due to schools as inevitable, the 25% care home contribution as likewise).

  4. I have received an email from FG/Freedom stating that it is only the swimming pool that is due to open on 24 October The gym facilities will not open until a December at the earliest

  5. John Griffin You could not call the whole of Lancashire inner city as it has the Pennines running through it and a vast area called Bowland

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