Croydon Council was able to reopen its Leisure Centres and Pools from Saturday 25th July but due to its own financial mismanagement it was only able to open four of the Centres. Disappointingly, one of the two remaining closed was in Purley, the other was in Monks Hill in Selsdon.
I contacted Council Officers and the operator of the Leisure Centre for more information; the information I’ve received has been slow in coming and reveals no reopening date.
Better, the operator told me,
“We are currently working with Croydon Council on the finances for the Croydon Leisure Contract, to ensure that it remains sustainable. Once the first phase of re-opening the facilities is complete, the situation will be reviewed and the opening of additional facilities and activities will be explored, the first phase is currently due to run at the start of September. Hope this helps.”
Well it didn’t help much because it didn’t tell me when Purley Leisure Centre would open and why it was one of the two not reopening at this point. It doesn’t explain why there is sufficient funding for the Leisure Centres in Labour wards, but not in Conservative wards – yes, in case you hadn’t noticed, only Leisure Centres in Labour wards have reopened.
Today I finally had a response from a Council Officer – although not from the Executive Director to whom the question was asked. The response that I have received is,
“Leisure Centres in Croydon are reopening in phases. The phases are predicated on ensuring COVID Security, geographical spread, cost and the circulation spaces around entry and exit.
We are currently part way through the initial phase of opening, which will provide us with data to enable us to plan the reopening of further services. So at this stage I am unable to confirm a date for Purley”
There is nothing specific in this response about Purley, other than there is no reopening date. A concern that is being raised by many residents is that the Leisure Centre or its pool will never reopen.
Keeping fit, particularly keeping our BMI down, is one way to reduce the effect of COVID-19 should we be unfortunate enough to catch it – so it is especially disappointing that the Labour Council isn’t opening our closest leisure centre, or even letting us know when we might get the same level of service as those living in Labour wards.
Together with the continued closure of Purley and Sanderstead Libraries, residents of Purley Oaks & Riddlesdown are receiving a far lower level of service than those elsewhere. During the school holidays, when families should be able to enjoy a swim or choose a book at the library, it is disgraceful that the Labour Council has either forgotten that it needs to provide a service to our residents, or is no longer pretending that it sees the need to do so.