A Lichfield councillor has called for “clear messaging” over Friary Grange Leisure Centre.

Friary Grange Leisure Centre

The facility reopened over the weekend with the swimming pool welcoming back users.

The gym is due to be back in use from 2nd November.

But it was revealed on Friday (23rd October) that group exercise classes would not be going ahead due to social distancing measures.

Cllr Paul Ray, Liberal Democrat member for the Chadsmead ward, said the news was only discovered during a site visit by councillors.

Paul Ray

“I was very surprised and concerned to hear that group fitness classes would not be offered when the centre reopened – and what’s worse, it seems not until February.

“That had not been communicated before.

“This follows on from the other announcement last week, that had not been made before, that the reopening of the centre is to be staggered.

“It will shut again at the end of November until it reopens in the early January.

“So we end up with the situation where it opens for one month and then closes for another month – and then opens again a month later.

“The communication is not good enough.”

Cllr Paul Ray, Lichfield District Council

Cllr Richard Cox, cabinet member responsible for leisure, said the dance studio would be used to expand the capacity of the gym while classes could not go ahead.

“I’m pleased we have been able to agree this change with Freedom Leisure.

“As an area for group exercise, the dance studio would have had a COVID-safe capacity of between two and four users dependent on the type of class.

“This would have meant offering a very limited programme to a very small number of people.

“By re-purposing the dance studio as a fitness suite we’re still able to make use of this space throughout our operating times.

“I appreciate that those looking forward to exercise classes may be disappointed, but COVID-safe requirements effectively made the studio all-but inoperable as a class venue.”

Cllr Richard Cox, Lichfield District Council

“The lack of clear messaging is confusing”

Cllr Ray’s criticism comes after Cllr Dave Robertson and Cllr Joanne Grange also called for more clarity for users of the leisure centre.

The Lib Dem councillor said the local authority needed to do better.

“Is it lack of grip by the council or a deliberate plan to put out news about the Friary Grange Leisure Centre on the drip?

“Either way the lack of clear messaging is confusing for residents and members of Friary Grange Leisure Centre who desperately want to start using the centre.

“Clear messaging is so important as we look to rebuild activity levels at the centre following the closure – The mixed and confusing announcements just do not help at all.

“I sincerely hope that from now on there is no more confusion from Lichfield District Council.”

Cllr Paul Ray, Lichfield District Council


Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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  1. It appears to be another crazy contract agreed by LDC.

    LDC pays Freedom Leisure. If, the centre is open or not.

    Freedom Leisure, appear in total control of the contract and what happens to the centre.

    What about the staff at the centre? Are they being retained? Or, are you expecting staff to work for 4 – 5 weeks. Then take time off in December. Then return in January?

    I thought it was a Conservative mantra “Fix the roof. When the sun is shining”

  2. I was under the impression following recent announcements that it was only the pool that was to close in December. I have now found out the gym will also close for a month. When will the council give us a straight answer? No wonder they want to keep council meetings to online. Couldn’t let the public attend and voice a call for resignations

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