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Leisure centres update July 31

Our Customer Service Centre on Southfield Road is now open for essential enquiries by appointment only. Please be aware that from August 8 it is mandatory for face coverings to be worn on the premises. More information, including how to make an appointment, in this news story.

Opening dates have been set for two Charnwood Borough Council leisure centres as more details have been released about the situation.

Fusion, which operates the leisure centres on behalf of the Council, has confirmed the health and fitness facilities will reopen at Soar Valley Leisure Centre on Saturday August 8 and South Charnwood Leisure Centre will reopen on Monday August 10.

A date has not yet been set for the swimming pools, but it is likely they will open in the coming weeks.

The Council is still working with Fusion on plans to reopen Loughborough Leisure Centre.

As the reopening of all three centres has a significant financial impact, a decision is required by the Council’s Cabinet which meets on August 13.

The report to Cabinet is exempt because it contains commercially sensitive information, but the Council is releasing as much information as it can to inform residents about the decision. A set of frequently asked questions has also been published.

The Council has had a contract with Fusion for nine years and the leisure centres over the last few years has generated a management fee payment to the Council in excessive of £200,000 a year.

The pandemic has caused a significant drop in income as centres have been closed for four months and customer numbers are expected to be lower when they reopen because of market conditions. Social distancing also means fewer customers will be allowed in the building at one time under COVID-19 secure guidance.

That means the Council will need to financially support Fusion to run the centres as they are no longer able to generate as much income.

The Cabinet report recommends to members that the Council pays a subsidy of £367,000 to keep the pools and gyms at all three centres open until April 2021.The situation will have to be reviewed again before then.

Other options, including not reopening the pools or not reopening all the leisure centres, have also been considered.

Cllr Leigh Harper-Davies, lead member for leisure centres, said: “This is a very difficult situation as we have moved from a position where the leisure centres used to generate income for the Council which would fund other services, to one where we have lost that income and need to pay a significant amount of money to keep the services operating.

“It is no-one’s fault except that of the pandemic.

“We have looked at a range of options but the one being recommended to Cabinet is to commit to that financial support and reopen all three leisure centres. It is now up to Cabinet to decide.”

Customers of Soar Valley and South Charnwood leisure centres will be contacted directly by Fusion about the steps being taken to ensure people’s safety.

Measures include managing capacity by asking customers to pre-book classes and gym sessions, spacing equipment at least two metres apart with social distancing markers and increasing the amount of cleaning.

For more information about the reopening of Soar Valley Leisure Centre and South Charnwood Leisure Centre visit the Fusion websites.

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