Response to public meeting about Friary Grange Leisure Centre
The Leader of Lichfield District Council has released a comment about Friary Grange Leisure Centre following last night's public meeting.
Councillor Doug Pullen, Leader of Lichfield District Council, said:
“Thank you to Caroline Fellows and the organising group, and everyone who attended last night’s public meeting, for giving us an opportunity to hear your views and concerns and a chance to reassure you that we are listening.
"Clearly I was apprehensive about attending, but I thought it vital that I was there to listen to the many highly engaged residents. It helped to crystallise many issues for me and other councillors and we were really glad we could be there.
“This morning (16 July) I met with a team at the district council and put together a plan of action that will see us requesting a meeting with The Friary School and Staffordshire County Council in the coming days.
“As outlined last night, the terms the county council has offered us sees the profitable elements, which are the sports hall and the synthetic pitch, pass to the school’s management as part of their plan to become an academy. These areas previously helped us to finance the running costs of the pool and the gym, and without them the arrangement is not viable.
“This needs to be discussed further, as the removal of these elements from the lease is a big part of the issue, along with the massive capital investment required to deliver urgent repairs.
“I am hopeful that all parties can come together to start to look at any practical ways we can ensure Friary Grange Leisure Centre benefits both the community and the school, and has the backing of all parties and attempt to reach a feasible solution in the short-term.
“We are also working on a plan for a meeting to consider the petition in September. This will not be a scheduled Cabinet meeting as it is too important an issue and it will be held in public. At the meeting we will be inviting groups and individuals to talk and put forward their concerns, before the matter is fully debated by councillors in public. We want to make sure the community has a chance to have their say and is properly heard.
“We have been receiving a number of complaints and Freedom of Information enquiries, and in response have set up a web page, where we will publish the answers we give to these enquiries, as well as any updated frequently asked questions based on people’s complaints. While there is not much data on the Freedom of Information page at present, we will keep adding to both pages over the coming days. Visit: www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/friaryfoi and www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/friaryfaqs.
“Finally, we are continuing to work on the longer-term solution for leisure provision in the city, which will see us talking to Sports England and other parties in the near future and we hope to be able to share more information as these discussions progress.”