Friday 19 July 2024
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Popular former leisure centre could be demolished

Nottingham City Council is considering selling off the former John Carroll Leisure Centre in Radford.

The Labour-run authority made the decision to close the popular facility in Denman Street Central in June 2021 describing it as the “least used facility with the highest council subsidy”.

Papers published on Friday (March 11) now show the council believes its options have been exhausted and is planning to sell it.

The ‘delegated decision’ document also shows the authority faces spending around £13,000 a month on the building while it continues to own it.

The cost includes site security and some maintenance and utilities.

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Residents living next to the centre said the closure would cause crime to soar in the area and mean hundreds of children will have nowhere to go.

A campaign group also fought to save the leisure centre, which had a gym and swimming pool as well as being a venue for sports and fitness classes.

A petition against the closure was also signed by 2,000 people.

The council said the closure decision was made as it faced huge cost pressures due to the Coronavirus pandemic but also anticipated losses from the failed energy company it set up, Robin Hood Energy, which went into administration in 2020.

The city council argued there was alternative provision at Djanogly Community Leisure Centre and Harvey Hadden Sports Complex – but residents said they needed a community centre on their doorstep.

Nottingham Forest Community Trust were involved to see if it could find a ‘long-term sustainable future for the site’ which included organising talks with community based organisations.

But so far, no-one has been found to take over the facility.

Now, as part of a delegated decision on 10 March  – which means it was decided outside a council meeting – the authority is looking to dispose of the site.

The council said: “A decision has been made as part of the budget savings process to close John Carroll Leisure Centre.

“The closure of John Carroll was planned for the end of June so a proportion of the full year saving has been entered into the budget book. The site is now closed and not operational.

“John Carroll now needs to be declared surplus and handed over to property. No alternative operational, regeneration, community or other requirements have been identified – as part of the consultation process.

“Some alternative options for use were considered but these proved unsuccessful, and disposal will allow for future consideration by the marketplace.

“Residents Services to remain responsible for all holding/revenue costs pertaining to the building until sold/disposed, including security.

“A speedy decision on best use of the former leisure centre will reduce cost pressures from holding the building.

“Any incidental costs (such as marketing, signage, surveys etc) incurred by Resident Services in preparing the building and site for any future disposal/sale will be recovered as a cost of sale from the capital receipt.

“John Carroll has been closed since the end of June and has attracted some anti-social behaviour. Some security is in place but it is essential that the building (is) demolished or put into service again for another use.”

The delegated decision allows the corporate director of growth and city development to be authorised to determine best use of the freehold, including potential disposal of the surplus asset.

The decision has also approved  essential premises-related holding costs in 2022/23 at approximately £13,000 per month (rates, utilities, security, repairs and maintenance) whilst the property department complete the necessary work, up to £156,000 in total so that the site remains safe and secure.

The council added: “John Carroll Leisure Centre remains a vacant building and the city council continues to incur costs for security, grounds
and site maintenance.”

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