Council’s preparations to re-open leisure centres

Burntwood Leisure Centre

Lichfield District Council is detailing preparations for the phased re-opening of its leisure centres.

The council’s Leisure, Parks and Waste Management Overview and Scrutiny Committee will discuss a report on the re-opening of the district’s two leisure centres at a special meeting on 16 July 2020. The report will be published on the council’s website at later today.

Re-opening efforts will initially focus on Burntwood Leisure Centre, with the experience from that initial phase used to inform decisions on re-introducing services at Friary Grange Leisure Centre.

Councillor Richard Cox, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks & Waste, said:

“It’s been a long and challenging sixteen weeks since government mandated the closure of all leisure centres.

“It’s great that government have now given us some clarity on when and how leisure centres will be able to re-open. In readiness for this we’ve been doing a lot of work behind the scenes with our partners at Freedom Leisure to plan for how this can be best achieved locally.

“I am keen to keep everyone up to date on our plans. This will provide our customers and residents with a further understanding of what the re-introduction of leisure services will look like, which will enable them to be ready as soon as we are able to re-open.

“We’ve decided to focus the initial phase of re-opening at Burntwood. With so much still unknown about the impact of the social distancing restrictions or what demand will be like, it is important we take a phased approach to re-opening. Our discussions suggest other local authorities are considering similar approaches and a phased re-introduction is the sensible practice being adopted by services from libraries to transport to retail.

“This will be disappointing for Friary Grange users. However, anyone familiar with the layout of the centre will understand how difficult it will be to deliver a covid-secure, socially distanced service from there, in the context of the restrictions announced by government. We will work to support our residents to access other leisure opportunities in the short-term.

“I look forward to being able to welcome users back to Burntwood at the end of the month. We will carefully monitor the re-introduction of the facilities and services and use this to help inform future decisions.”

Ivan Horsfall-Turner, Managing Director Freedom Leisure, added:

“Freedom Leisure is delighted to be reopening Burntwood Leisure Centre on Saturday 25 July. The team is working hard to make sure the centre is ready and waiting to welcome back the local community, and look forward to seeing everyone very soon.”

To keep up to date with reopening information from Burntwood Leisure Centre go to www.freedom-leisure.co.uk/centres/burntwood.

To find out more about the reopening of the leisure centres and to read some frequently asked questions, go to www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/reopeningleisurecentres.

Published: 13 July 2020