‘Optimism’ over city leisure centre

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News: Sheffield Telegraph online 24-hours a day.

FRESH hopes emerged this week of saving Stocksbridge Leisure Centre.

Community representatives expressed optimism after talks with the city council on Tuesday - and called off a proposed protest yesterday (Wednesday) as “an initial gesture of goodwill”.

Campaign group 4SLC said that although no definitive decisions or conclusions were reached, the talks “nevertheless give grounds for optimism. The commitment was made by both parties to work closer together to provide a sustainable leisure facility in Stocksbridge.”

The protest was due to be held before the council’s cabinet, which is allowing more time for a community-based solution to be developed.

Cabinet member Coun Isobel Bowler said both the council and 4SLC have pledged to work together following a “positive” meeting.

The council has allocated financial support of up to £125,000 to help 4SLC to operate the centre from May or to mothball the centre until the end of August. “If a viable business case comes forward before the end of August we will be able to sign the deeds of the leisure centre over to the town council,” said Coun Bowler.

The authority blames Government cuts for the proposed closure of the leisure centre and swimming pool. Attempts by 4SLC to work up a business plan have been hindered, it says, by a lack of detailed information from the council. This is denied by the council.