Under-threat leisure centres reprieved in new Shropshire Council plans

Multiple under-threat leisure centres should stay open, Shropshire Council said today, as revised plans were revealed.

Shirehall Shropshire Council stock

The authority has doubled the number of towns in which it says leisure services should be focussed in the future, meaning new hope for centres that expected to lose all funding by this time next year.

In July last year Shropshire Council said it wanted to invest in and support just three main "community leisure hubs" in Ludlow, Shrewsbury and Oswestry, as part of its strategy for the next 20 years.

But now the authority has launched a second public consultation on a revised "indoor leisure strategy", which recommends six "hubs" including Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Ludlow as before, but adding Bishop's Castle, Bridgnorth and Market Drayton.

It also recommends leisure centres in Church Stretton, Whitchurch, Cleobury Mortimer and Ellesmere be retained as "community leisure centres".

The new plan has been welcomed by campaigners as a victory for centres under threat from the scrapping of funding, such as Bishop's Castle's SpArC and Teme Church Stretton. Whitchurch and Market Drayton were also facing an uncertain future under previous plans.

But the revised strategy does not yet include how the six hubs and four other centres will be funded in the future.

A spokesman for Shropshire Council said: "The strategy sets out Shropshire Council’s preferred course of action, but the ability of the council to support leisure facilities beyond 2018/19 will be determined in due course as the council’s medium-term financial position becomes more clearly defined."

It also doesn't deal with the future location of Shrewsbury's swimming pool, which is being treated as a separate issue with its own process to go through.

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Comments for: "Under-threat leisure centres reprieved in new Shropshire Council plans"


This one has the council's spin written all over it. Big headline about victory but this is no such thing. The devil is in the detail. Scroll down to the end where a council officer admits no funding has been ear marked & nothing can be promised until finances have been reviewed, with no time commitment for that to take place.

At best this is as stay of execution, at worst, it's nothing more than a diversionary headline designed to dupe the public into thinking the campaign has achieved something. The only way to secure the long term future of Sparc in Bishops Castle, for example, is for campaigners to apply for a judicial review. Otherwise, all that public money from fund raising efforts will go down the drain just as soon as the council pull the plug.

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