Members at today’s Extraordinary Cabinet meeting (March 30, 2022), upheld their decision to close the Ships and Castles leisure centre in Falmouth following a ‘call-in’ of their initial decision, made on March 4.
The call-in had contended that Cabinet did not previously have enough financial information about the various bids, and therefore could not make an informed decision to abandon the procurement process and close the centre.
The council’s Customer Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee met earlier in the week and agreed that Cabinet should revisit its decision.
However, after reviewing the bids and accompanying financial information, Cabinet agreed that none were economically viable and reluctantly upheld the decision to cease the procurement process and close Ships and Castles, with a view to developing alternative options for leisure provision for the Falmouth and Penryn area.
Ships and Castles will close on March 31, 2022. The Council will work with current operator GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited) during the decommissioning process and provide support for affected staff.
Cabinet Portfolio holder for customers Richard Pears said: “We again want to thank those who have come forward to offer solutions after we committed to explore every avenue and involve local communities in what happens to their leisure centres.
“We are grateful for the hard work that went into the bids to keep Ship and Castles open, but unfortunately none were assessed as being economically viable.
“These are very difficult decisions that are also being faced by other local authorities. We must ensure our critical services and statutory obligations are met – bearing in mind that there is no statutory requirement for local authorities to provide leisure services.”
Councillor Pears added: “We are committed to continue to work with the community, partners and stakeholders to develop plans for an alternative leisure offering in the Falmouth area.”
The Council is currently working with the schools in Falmouth to ensure pupils are able to access swimming lessons in alternative venues.
The Council has already secured a way forward for Saltash Leisure Centre and we are continuing in our efforts to appoint an operator for Wadebridge Leisure Centre.
The Council is working closely with the Coronation Park Trust to find a viable contractor to take on the leisure centre in Launceston from January 2023 when GLL will cease to operate the centre.