A Nottinghamshire swimming club says the imminent closure of its leisure centre will be “devastating” for its members.
Kimberley Leisure Centre will close at the end of March 2024, after Broxtowe Borough Council said it couldn’t meet the “very significant” costs to keep it open.
This will leave Kimberley Swimming Club, which has used it for 46 years, homeless unless they can find another venue.
The venue is jointly run by the council, Kimberley School and Liberty Leisure, but no funding agreement could be reached after months of negotiations.
The decision to close it was taken behind closed doors by the council’s Cabinet on Tuesday (December 5).
The swimming club has 250 members who use it to keep fit and socialise.
Jean Granger, the club’s secretary, said: “We will be out of business if we can’t find anywhere else.
“We are looking at other facilities and waiting for replies, so it’s all in the air at the moment.
“This has been our only home. We have swum there four times a week since 1977.
“I learned to swim there when the swimming club was first set up, and became a teacher over the years.
“It’s hard to believe it might all come to an end.
“If we can find time in other pools, I hope people follow us there. Some clubs are split between two or three pools, which could be an option.
“The news was devastating.
“The pool is well used by everything from Aquafit to doctor’s referrals. It’s sad to think that it could lead to more people overloading the NHS.
“We’re hoping some money will turn up for them to keep the facility open.”
An online petition to keep the centre open has passed 3,500 signatures.
‘Negotiations have been ongoing between the Council, Liberty Leisure Ltd, and Kimberley School for a few months, with all parties working together to ensure leisure provision in Kimberley in the future.
‘Regrettably, these negotiations have now reached a stage where the Council can no longer commit to the very significant financial contributions proposed by the school to maintain the Kimberley Gym and Swim arrangements.
‘This is understandably a very distressing time for the employees at Kimberley Gym and Swim and they are being fully supported, including looking at redeployment opportunities within the Council and its other leisure facilities should redundancies have to be made.
‘We also understand that this will be disappointing news to our customers, members, residents and the community who use the fitness and swimming facilities operated at the site by Liberty Leisure Ltd.
‘Liberty Leisure Ltd will continue to operate gym and fitness classes, swimming, including Swim School and Exercise Referral until 31 March 2024. We know that access to leisure facilities is important to residents as a way to live healthy, active lives so Liberty Leisure Ltd, the Council’s Leisure company will be working with Council Officers to seek alternative leisure sites in the north of the Borough.
‘Kimberley School said that the sports centre, which was built 50 years ago, is “well beyond its intended lifespan”, and was too costly to continue running.
“The costs of a basic refurbishment are £2.4 million and these are just the priority items. This is economically unviable and a level of capital investment that is not realistic for the school or East Midlands Education Trust,” it said.
“We remain in discussions with Broxtowe Borough Council and Liberty Leisure regarding the possibility of maintaining a gym and classes offer at the Sports Centre, though it is unclear how viable this may be.”