The future of Friary Grange Leisure Centre
Thank you to everyone who came along to the special cabinet meeting on Monday 7 October 2019 about Friary Grange Leisure Centre. We heard from local schoolchildren, parents, members of swimming and triathlon clubs, users of the gym, a representative from the NHS, the county council and more.
A full cabinet debate took place following the public speaking session, during which councillors voted to recommend option two to Full Council on 15 October 2019. Option two is to work to keep the leisure centre open and invest up to £695,000 in repairs and maintenance to do so.
Cabinet will also recommend to full council to amend the council's financial plan (called the medium term financial strategy or MTFS) to add £5 million into the council's capital programme to help provide future leisure facilities in Lichfield.
View the full report at www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/fglcreport which outlines option two in full.
Where we are up to
Since our decision to keep Friary Grange Leisure Centre open, we have been working hard with partners - including Staffordshire County Council, The Friary School and Freedom Leisure - to make progress on the agreements needed to carry out the essential work, which is set to get underway in the spring.
We are also pleased to be working with Max Associates on the long-term plan for leisure provision in Lichfield. They will begin work on feasibility studies and site identification and appraisal this year.
Following our announcement that Friary Grange Leisure Centre would be closing in April 2020, there was a huge community response to the news. Members, customers and clubs have raised the issue through social media, a community meeting, running a petition and contacting the council, showing just how passionately they feel about having access to a public leisure centre and swimming pool in Lichfield city.
As a result we met with our partners including the county council and the school on 18 July 2019 for positive talks. All partners made a firm commitment to explore a range of potential options to address the immediate threat of closure, as well as look at future options for more sustainable leisure provision in the district.
We also committed to making no further decisions in relation to the leisure centre until after the public meeting that was held on 7 October 2019.