Rumours were flying earlier in the year that, following the decision by Rother District Council to remove the annual subsidy of nearly £373,000 paid to the operators, Freedom Leisure, the Sports Centre would possibly face closure.
Denials were issued at the time and last week a new contract was finally signed. Under its terms Freedom Leisure has been given a further 10-year lease to replace the existing one that expires in March next year.
In return Freedom Leisure (which is a not-for-profit organisation) will improve facilities with a £300,000 investment in the gym and a further £246,000 will be spent on improving energy efficiency. It will also have an option to extend the agreement for a further 10 years.
Despite this large investment and the removal of the subsidy, the operators have also committed themselves to no significant price increases or changes to any of the programs or opening hours. They are also going to fund the provision of a “sports and community development officer” with the objective of encouraging more people to get active.
So now we can relax, safe in the knowledge that we can still head down to the pool or gym in January to get fit and lose those extra Christmas pounds and the 5% of us who manage to keep the resolution going until March will continue to have the town’s excellent exercise resource available to us.
Photo: Ray Prewer