Borough Leisure Centres Made £5 MILLION Losses

New figures show that Dudley’s leisure centres have made a loss of more than £5 million in the last three years.

The figures from 2013 to 2016 show that the three centres had an expenditure of over £13m but an income of just over £8m over that period.

Council bosses have revealed they want to knock down the centres and replace them with two new state-of-the-art facilities in hope of saving the authority £1.75m as it struggles to balance the books. They say that the plans to close the centres are due to essential repair works, which would cost the authority £2m.

Over 4,000 residents have signed a petition to keep the centres open. Opposition UKIP councillor Paul Brothwood has insisted that the council must find out why the centres have much such a loss. He said:

“We need to ensure value for money for taxpayers. The council need to look at why the centres have made such a loss.

“It seems to also come down to a poor marketing team as the services the council provide to residents are not marketed well enough to generate more income. The leisure centres are a vital service and must be protected.”

Crystal Leisure Centre is making the biggest loss, with a shortfall of over £1.5m between 2015 and 2016. Dudley Leisure Centre made a loss of over £500,000 and Halesowen Leisure Centre lost over £600,000 during the same period. Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, cabinet member for planning and economic development, said:

“The expenses at the leisure centres are far higher than the income so the council is having to fund them. The facilities are old and need to be upgraded as the centres have a time span of around 30 years but they’re more than that. Halesowen Leisure Centre is over 50 years old.

“As they get older, the more you need to spend to ensure they last unless they were built to make sure a regular maintenance programme is in place. If the plans to build two new centres go ahead, we will make sure there is regular maintenance and upkeep so we don’t have the same issue.”

He added: “I must stress, the proposed closure of the three centres is years away and will only happen following full consultation and scrutiny, and after the two new centres are built.”


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