I continue to receive queries regarding when or whether Purley Leisure Centre will reopen. I have had a very full and frank conversation with the Council Director responsible for the leisure centres and have more information.
The first question I asked was when/if the Leisure Centre would re-open. It is definitely not going to reopen in 2020, and user-patterns and finance mean it might not even be open next year. This is devastating for our local community.
The second question I asked was what is preventing it from opening. The overriding issue here is how to finance the Leisure Centre. The building and facilities have not been taken care of over recent years and therefore it is already subsidised in terms of both revenue and capital costs. The numbers that I was quoted weren’t as high as I’d expected but there is so little left in the Council’s coffers that this amount cannot be covered. I understand that the leisure centres that have reopened are approximately cost neutral.
The third question I raised covered the provision of swimming lessons and other opportunities for the wider community. Anecdotally, there are very few pools available for swimming lessons - even nearby schools that have pools are not running swimming lessons as children would be too close to each other in the changing rooms. I did point out that our local libraries in Purley and Sanderstead also remain closed so, for our community, it feels that very few Council facilities are open to the public.
I will continue to seek more information on how Purley Leisure Centre can be reopened.