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  • The Rother Alliance

Leisure centre plans set to be put on hold due to Covid-19

At a meeting of the Bexhill Leisure Centre Steering Group, councillors discussed possible options for the planned rebuild of the Down Road Leisure Centre. The site was originally set for a circa £15million rebuild however due to the financial situation facing the council in the wake of Covid-19, it was necessary to re-evaluate the scheme.

On the table were the options to go ahead with the plans despite the financial risk of pursuing the project in the current economic climate, to cancel the project entirely and potentially lose Bexhill its main leisure facilities, to leave the current leisure centre to continue as it is with no capital investment or to invest big in refurbishing the current site.

Following discussion, the Rother Alliance members who make up the Steering Group proposed another option, to make smaller investments in the current site in order to keep it running whilst retaining the planned scheme for a future date, to be reviewed post-covid when the council’s financial situation is clearer. It was discussed that this option would save the leisure centre from closing down and keep the ambitious re-build plans on the table without gambling away £15million of taxpayers money in the current economic climate.

Council Leader and Chair of the Steering Group, Doug Oliver said of the decision,

“This was absolutely the right decision. It shows a clear and continued commitment to provide leisure facilities on the site whilst taking great care not to aggressively pursue a new build that would cost upwards of £15million - money that the Council would have to borrow or take from reserves during a period of great uncertainty. A brand new leisure centre is worth pursuing when we reach a more financially stable time, but right now we must prioritise our financial situation so that we can continue to provide services and keep the district running. Now is not the time for risky investments and it is important for this administration that we continue to provide good leisure services to meet residents’ needs and to do so responsibly, within our means.”

The recommendation will now go to Cabinet where the final decision will be made.

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