Harleston Leisure Centre is losing thousands a year, report shows

Harleston Leisure Centre. Photograph Simon Parker

Harleston Leisure Centre. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

An independent report has found a town's leisure centre is losing tens of thousands of pounds a year.

Harleston Leisure Centre – which is managed by the town council – ran at a deficit of £60,177 during the year 2014/15, a report by the Leisure Management Services has found.

It focused on the cost of the gym and the building and a similar loss was forecast for this year.

The report was commissioned by South Norfolk Council and Harleston Town Council after the decision was made to offer the town council a bespoke package to benefit the residents and businesses of the town.

The package included South Norfolk Council taking on the management of the leisure centre and investing £300,000; the removal of the unpopular new toilet block and the refurbishment of the old facilities; and taking back responsibility for the car parks.

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Town council chairman Barry Woods said councillors found the report to be 'flawed' and said the gym and building costs should not be put together.

He said: 'The gym is not losing money. The costs that appear to be added to the report relate to the building itself and not the gym. To put the whole thing against the gym produces a skewed reality. It was not in the best interests of Harleston to give away the gym.'

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Recommendations from the report included the expansion of the fitness suite, increased studio space and redevelopment of the entrance.

The district council has said it would take into consideration the recommendations and is willing to invest the £300,000.

A deal with Archbishop Sancroft High School to open the school's swimming pool to the public could also be struck.

Have you got a Harleston story? Email rebecca.murphy@archant.co.uk

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