A public consultation that could impact the future of Knutsford Leisure Centre has been launched by Cheshire East Council.
The “strategic leisure review” consultation, which runs to 7th January 2024, aims to save the borough council £479k each year and was originally planned to specifically consult on proposals to close Knutsford Leisure Centre alongside centres in Poynton, Holmes Chapel and Middlewich.
The consultation outlines that “as a last resort” it may have to withdraw funding from leisure centres asking whether residents think the council should focus its leisure centre provision on areas with poor health, where usage is highest or where operational costs are the lowest.
Knutsford Leisure Centre may be “at risk” due to Knutsford being a predominantly healthy area. CEC data is unclear on user numbers but suggests Knutsford Leisure Centre has a lower membership penetration and userbase than many other centres.
Last week Knutsford Town Council met with operator Everybody Health and Leisure who outlined that they have identified a number of measures which could deliver the saving to Cheshire East Council without the need for centre closures. Both the Town Council and Everybody Health and Leisure believe it is highly important to retain leisure centres in the borough’s key towns for the health of all residents.
The consultation can be accessed on the Cheshire East Council website at: https://surveys.cheshireeast.gov.uk/s/1WHHZA/
Knutsford Town Council had invited Tom Shuttleworth (Director of Environment and Neighbourhoods), Cllr Mick Warren (Chair of the Environment and Communities Committee) and Cllr Sam Corcoran (Leader) of Cheshire East Council to attend a public meeting in Knutsford to discuss this consultation and what it could mean for the town, but unfortunately they have declined the invitation.
Town Councillor Matthew Robertson said “Knutsford Leisure Centre is a critical part of the Knutsford community so please have your say”
“It is vital that Knutsford residents engage with this consultation. We know the centre is used by all ages and demographics and the broader the response to the consultation the greater the impact will be on Cheshire East Council’s decision making.”