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Cornwall's Leisure Centres Could be Hived Off

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2:16pm 5th November 2014
(Updated 2:16pm 5th November 2014)

Cornwall's leisure centres look like being handed over to private companies - or the community.

Officials have backed plans to transfer them to other organisations to run.

This as they try to save two hundred million pounds.

The counci is keen to point out it does not mean centres will close.

A Cabinet meeting on Wednesday was told if the plans go ahead the subsidy to centres would cease in 2017.

The market would be tested in the period up until February 2015 and then a proposal put together which the council would decide on next year.

Officials insist that it is 'business as usual' in the meantime and the whole aim is to keep centres open. 

Councillor Bert Biscoe added that the council was caught in a "pincer movement of pruidence" and it was a  "prudent and intelligent way of approaching - but not of their choosing".

But the decision is prompting fears that it will put centres, which have a maintenance backlog bill of around £15 million, under threat.

Parents have been telling Pirate FM how they depend on their local pools for swimming lessons for the children, parties and to keep themselves fit and healthy. They are worried the changes could mean their local centre shuts or they have to travel miles for the classes they want.

Camelford Leisure centre lost its funding from the council over two years ago.

The local community took it over and have recently announced they have turned around a deficit of £170,000.

Now the organisation is almost breaking even.

It was the worst performing sports centre in the Duchy when the council pulled funding.

Camelford Councillor Rob Rotchell was instrumental in the campaign to keep it open and told Pirate FM: "For the other leisure centres, which are performing notionally better ... they're starting from a better base, it's do-able, it's definitely do-able. It's hard work; it's not a five minute job. But if Camelford can do it, other people can do it too.

"Cornwall Council's finances are dire and there are things that Cornwall Council does today that it will not be able to do in the future. There was anger however you've got to turn that anger into something a bit more positive and that's what we did."

2:16pm 5th November 2014

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