Halesowen, Dudley and Crystal Leisure Centres May CLOSE To Reduce Council Expenditure

The three ageing facilities are earmarked for closure, and two new leisure centres could be built in Dudley borough, as part of a huge review of sports facilities and to help save £25million from the council’s budget.

The draft proposals would save £1.75million for the authority while revolutionising council-provided leisure facilities in the borough.

A report is due to go to the council’s cabinet next month outlining the proposals which include two new leisure centres with swimming pools, badminton courts, gyms, studios and changing facilities.

The three current leisure centres in Dudley, Halesowen and Stourbridge are in desperate need of repair and investment of more than £2million. Dudley and Halesowen were both built over 40 years ago, while the Crystal Leisure Centre in Stourbridge dates back to the early 90s, and despite funding from the council they are all are struggling to compete with new modern facilities.

Under the proposals all three would be closed once the two new leisure centres are built, but would continue to operate as normal until that time.

The council's wider budget  proposals, which are set to go to public consultation over the next few months, outline £25million worth of savings across the authority over the next three years. Leisure centres have been highlighted in the report as needing to save £338,000 in 2017/18 through a review of the service.

Council bosses are asking cabinet for permission to draw up the detail for the sites, including where they could be built, how they would be operated and funded. Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, cabinet member responsible for leisure, said:

“These are exciting proposals being put forward to cabinet and will totally transform how we deliver leisure facilities across the borough. Staff work hard to keep our current stock of leisure centres going but they face an uphill struggle to compete against privately run facilities and spiralling maintenance costs.

“Many of our facilities, although well attended, will not survive many more years in their current format and we have to look at reshaping how we do things to make them accessible, affordable and competitive.

“The proposals before cabinet are about putting the detail to the ideas to make sure we can deliver them at the same time as saving tax payers’ money.”

Around 1.2million people currently visit the council’s leisure centres each year, which generates £2.87million income for the authority – with the council funding the £1.9million deficit to keep the centres open, including the Dell Stadium which is not part of the review.

The ageing centres are also in need of repair including £500,000 for a new air handling unit at Halesowen and a further half a million on a new roof at Dudley. Crystal Leisure Centre also needs a new boiler which is expected to cost around £50,000 with further maintenance at all three needed.

The council hopes to save £1.75million to make them cost neutral. 

Council bosses have also been working with Sport England on the proposals. A report will go to cabinet on December 14th.


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