Petition to keep Kimberley Leisure Centre open reaches 3,300 signatures as public are excluded from meeting

Kimberley School Sports Centre (google)
By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter

A petition calling on a council to keep open Kimberley Sports Centre and Swimming Pool has passed more than 3,300 signatures – as it emerged the public will be excluded from a council meeting which will make a final decision on its future.

The centre, which includes a swimming pool and gym, is jointly run by Broxtowe Borough Council, Kimberley School and Liberty Leisure Limited – which is part of the Labour-run authority.

The site in Newdigate Street was formerly known as Kimberley Leisure Centre.

In November it was revealed the council was considering closing the facility after a Conservative councillor said he’d been told staff had been informed it was likely to shut.

Cllr Philip Owen (Con) also said a council report on the centre, which went to the council’s cabinet in July 2023, revealed there was a £90,000 deficit for managing the swimming pool. However, the report was an exempt item, meaning it has not been made public.

A final decision on the future of the leisure centre will be made at the council’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday (December 5) – but the press and public are due to be excluded from this part of the meeting.

The online petition says the closure would “deprive local residents of these treasured facilities”.

But it also adds the centre is “way past its best before date”.

The petition states: “Since it opened in 1973, the centre has proudly served generations of local people.

“Activities have included teaching adults and children to swim, aqua-aerobics, a wide range of exercise classes for all ages, such as yoga, palates, aerobics, spinning, etc. many of which are available under the GP referral scheme.

“The centre also provides up-to-date outdoor sports pitches that are heavily used throughout the year, as well as a diversely-equipped gym popular with young and old.

“The loss of this centre will not only deprive local residents of these treasured facilities, it will adversely impact the health and well-being of the people of north Broxtowe.

“This petition needs the support of current residents of Broxtowe, and also those who have left the area but benefited immeasurably from this centre when they lived here.”

On signatory, Kyle W, wrote: “This will take away a vital resource for the community a place where people can socialise and keep fit. Taking away this resource will be a massive impact to the community.”

Last month Cllr Owen, leader of the Conservative group at the authority, also accused Broxtowe Borough Council of being ‘secretive’ over the future of the leisure centre.

A previous agreement in the running of the centre between East Midlands Education Trust and Broxtowe Borough Council ended in April 2022.

Kimberley School and Broxtowe Borough Council then took on the running of the leisure centre.

The Kimberley School and East Midlands Education Trust said: “We are in discussion with Broxtowe Borough Council about the current agreement we have with them regarding The Kimberley School Sports Centre.

“Broxtowe Borough Council are set to meet shortly to discuss the situation and we expect to make a formal announcement when final decisions are confirmed.”

Broxtowe Borough Council has witheld publication of reports on the decision ahead of the meeting on Tuesday.

The meeting’s agenda states they should not be made public under parts of the Local Government Act designed to protect information relating to individuals and the financial affairs of businesses and people.

The agenda for the meeting also shows the press and public are due to be excluded from the part of the meeting which will include discussion of the centre’s future.

Broxtowe Borough Council did not respond to a request for further comment on the reasons for the decision to exempt the reports.

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