John Carroll Leisure Centre
GT asked the following question of the
Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Schools:
The consultation period relating to the future of the John Carroll Leisure Centre took place at a time when John Carroll was (along with all of the other City Council leisure facilities) actually closed due to the pandemic. There is now a real danger that Active Nottingham Members in the area and other users will return to use the Centre after lockdown has ended only to find a closure notice hanging over the facility without them being aware of this situation. Given the importance of these facilities in relation to combatting loneliness and developing community cohesion, as well as the physical and mental health benefits, can the Portfolio Holder agree a ‘stay of execution’ in relation to John Carroll in order to undertake a thorough consultation with local residents and to ascertain the true value of this much-loved but under-invested facility. Also, could the Portfolio Holder publish the results of the first albeit limited consultation in relation to John Carroll?
Councillor Eunice Campbell-Clark replied as follows:
Thank you for your question regarding the closure of John Carroll Leisure Centre. It is recognised that the consultation period for all the budget proposals was undertaken during the pandemic, this is why the service undertook a range of different communication methods with just under 2000 users and non-users of the proposals. Each Active Nottingham member and all dry sport and swimming clubs have been communicated with regarding their options to continue to keep active. There was also a campaign group who worked hard to spread the message about the proposals and enabled a great many people to respond back. This enabled not only Active Nottingham Members but also local residents and those who live further away to feed back their thoughts.
The Council is passionate about sport and physical activity and wants to encourage participation and activity across the City, which is why the Sport and Leisure Team have worked hard to relocate those users of John Carroll to our other facilities so they can continue their activities. We have been able to offer opportunities for all clubs and users to move to other facilities and we are pleased to update that the vast majority of clubs, children on our Learn to Swim Programme, school swimming and gym and fitness users are now using alternative venues: Harvey Hadden Sports Village, Victoria Leisure Centre and especially at Djanogly Leisure Centre, which is just a mile away, from John Carroll. We are also still in communication with our customers who may be still nervous to return and supporting them through the summer to feel confident in the measures we are taking to ensure our facilities are as safe as they can be.
With regards to a ‘stay of execution’, we have to be realistic. The Council made the decision to close in March 2021 and continued to operate the facility until the end of June 2021 to accommodate the transfer of users to other sites. Trying to keep the centre operational would be expensive and would benefit very few users. The focus for the Council now is to work with community groups to examine a new operating model for the building and I would like to thank the ward councillors for their support in enabling wide ranging conversation with local groups and organisations, who are interested in supporting the building to become a community hub in the future.
With regard to the consultation I would be happy to speak to officers of the Council to assess how a succinct and an anonymised summary of the responses we have received could be made available if required.