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East Leeds: More changes ahead for Garforth Squash and Leisure Centre

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  • by Stuart Robinson
 

The future of Garforth Squash and Leisure Centre will be under the spotlight at a crunch meeting next week.

And senior councillors look set to decide on a whole new way of running the much-loved facility which will see them strike up a deal with the Schools Partnership Trust and stick with the centre’s reduced opening hours.

The Trust had been looking to take the centre, on Ninelands Lane, off the council’s hands in a Community Asset Transfer and run it themselves.

They put the proposals forward after the council said they could no longer afford to run the centre in its present form earlier this year.

After looking at their 2011/12 budget, the authority had reviewed all their sports facilities.

The review showed Garforth was operating at a net loss of £227,000 per year.

In a bid to halt the slide, the council changed the centre’s opening hours from 103 a week to 58.5.

Following the changes, along with a string of other cost-cutting measures, council bosses say the centre is now operating at a breakeven point.

And a meeting of their executive board at Civic Hall next Wednesday will see the council will consider formally ending asset transfer discussions in favour of a new model.

The new proposal will recommend maintaining the current opening hours, but will also encourage further dialogue with the Schools Partnership Trust and any other interested parties who may wish to use the centre beyond the existing hours.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills Councillor Adam Ogilvie said: “We are pleased to be able to say that as a result of the changes made and hard work and patience of those involved Garforth Squash and Leisure Centre is in a significantly stronger position now than it was when this process began.

“We are now in a position where we are able to reassess the operating model of the facility and look into entering a partnership with the Schools Partnership Trust and any other interested parties in order to expand the operations of the centre to ensure it can continue to develop in the years to come.”

 

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