THREE leisure centres have been saved from ruin after a lifeline deal was accepted by governing bosses.
The sites at Lancing Manor, Southwick Leisure Centre and Wadurs Swimming Pool in Shoreham have been closed since the start of the pandemic in March.
Original operator Adur Community Leisure (ACL) was forced to enter liquidation and make about 150 staff redundant during the forced national closure.
Now, a lifeline deal accepted by South Downs Leisure’s board of directors and Adur and Worthing Councils will see the sites reopen as early as the new year.
Unanimous votes to proceed were granted by both and South Downs Leisure will now move forward
with plans to reopen the centres.
Duncan Anderson, South Downs Leisure’s chief executive, said: “This is an exciting time for us all at South Downs Leisure, not just the challenge for staff, but also the benefits for our amazing members and hopefully gives light at the end of a tunnel for the Adur community too in what has been
an otherwise challenging period.
“The task ahead is not to be under-estimated and does come with an element of risk, albeit a calculated one, with lots of hard work to be done before the three new sites can be opened.
“This showcases our
commitment to providing inclusive, community-based leisure services to the public.
“Our mission to keep more people more active more often is at the heart of this decision and we are eager to bring this ethos to new communities in our area.”
The proposal is for the charitable trust to take over the Adur sites towards the end of the year.
A plan for a staggered opening of the three centres during the new year will start with Lancing Manor at the end of January 2021 – although official opening dates are still to be confirmed.
At the time of the proposal, Adur District Council’s executive member for the environment, Councillor Emma Evans, said: ‘It was sad that ACL could not survive lockdown and that staff lost their jobs.
“However from that moment we have been working very hard to secure the future of the facilities and South Downs Leisure have a proven track record in running excellent sports, health and wellbeing leisures services across the border in Worthing.