Sports centre puzzler ‘clarified’

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COUNCIL bosses say they will consult the public before any definite plans are made on whether to close Garstang’s leisure centre.

Wyre Council, which owns the leisure centre on Windsor Road, and the centre’s operator, Fylde Coast YMCA, have spoken out after what they say is confusion among users and potential users about its future.

Wyre and the YMCA say: “Garstang Leisure Centre is still very much open for business and no decisions have yet been made about its long term future.”

The council issued a statement last week following a council meeting in August when the strong likelihood of closing the centre was floated, though not immediately.

In a statement clarifying its stance the council says: “Garstang Leisure Centre is still very much open for business and no decisions have yet been made about its long term future.

“News of a forthcoming review of Wyre’s leisure services to see how they can be improved and delivered in a more cost effective way, has led to concerns that facilities will be lost.

“As part of that review, which has yet to start, preliminary discussions will be taking place with Garstang High School to establish how comfortable they would be with sharing the school’s sports facilities with the wider community.

“This is one option that could see the creation of a new artificial sports pitch on the school site, improved gym facilities at Garstang swimming pool and daytime classes relocated to other venues in the town.”

The council stressed “no decisions will be made without a full public consultation, which is likely to start at some point in the current financial year.”

And the council added: “Whatever the outcomes of that consultation, facilities will be enhanced rather than reduced.”

Coun Lynne Bowen of Out Rawcliffe, cabinet member with responsibility for leisure, said: “When you consider the rising costs of running a leisure centre and you have a local school with a new gym and dance studio that stand empty in the evenings, it makes sense to look at doing things in a different way.

“The community can be assured that as with any review, there will be a full and detailed consultation and I would encourage people to express their views at the appropriate time.”

John Cronin, chief executive of Fylde Coast YMCA, said: “It is our mission to sustain leisure provision for the local community and the team at both Garstang YMCAs continue to work hard to deliver a high standard of service and varied programme of popular activities.

“We are in support of any move which seeks to enhance the facilities and access to activities for Garstang and the wider local community.”

• See comment, page six.