Figures reveal that only three of Kirklees Active Leisure's sites turn a profit, as consultation continues on closure of several centres
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Spen Valley Leisure Centre, Bradley Park Golf Club and Leeds Road Sports Complex are the three sites that are turning a profit for KAL.
At the other end of the spectrum are the Stadium Health and Fitness Club, Batley Sports and Tennis Centre, and Dewsbury Sports Centre, which all report deficits of more than £500,000 each year.
Other centres making losses of more than £100,000 are Huddersfield Leisure Centre, Scissett Baths and Fitness Centre, and Colne Valley Leisure Centre.
This information has been brought to light as Kirklees Council has commenced consultation on its plans for the future of KAL-run leisure facilities across the district.
The document puts forward proposals to keep the Huddersfield and Spen Valley leisure centres open as KAL’s “core offer” and close three sites at Batley, Slaithwaite and Dewsbury.
The plans also set out several “marginal sites” which the council hopes can be kept open. However, these could be closed if financial or operational circumstances change. These facilities are: Bradley Golf Club, Deighton Sports Arena, Holmfirth Pool and Fitness Centre, Leeds Road Sports Complex, and Scissett Baths and Fitness Centre.
The review of the district’s leisure centres has come about because the council says it can no longer offer KAL the same level of financial support as it did previously due to financial pressures of its own – looking to make a £47m saving to avoid declaring effective bankruptcy.
Due to this, the local authority will be reducing its contribution from the £6.1m that was provided in this year’s budget, to £2.55m annually - but this means that KAL cannot afford to keep operating all of its sites.
As inflationary pressures hit the leisure sector with the cost of living crisis, the prices of energy and the general running of facilities rose rapidly.
In KAL-managed centres, utility bills increased from around £1m to £4m per year. On top of this, the rise in the national minimum wage and long-term closures during the Covid years also took their toll on the service.
Below, we take a look at the state of each of KAL’s leisure facilities in North Kirklees, according to the information provided in the council’s consultation document.
Spen Valley Leisure Centre – In profit
The Spen Valley site is the newest centre in Kirklees, opening its doors for the first time last February and costing £18.6m. It is one of only two KAL centres that are making a profit.
The leisure centre has a gym, two pools, a cycling studio, two studios and an athletics track. The cost of essential maintenance over the next three years is £250,000, with this being used to look after the track.
Batley Sports and Tennis Centre – Over £500,000 deficit
The centre is described as operating at a “significant loss”, with £611,000 also anticipated to be needed for essential works over the next three years. Facilities at the site include two pools, a gym, indoor and outdoor tennis courts and an Astroturf pitch.
The council highlights that a range of groups use the site including 12 football clubs, one tri-club, one gymnastics club, five rugby clubs, a rounders club, netball league, badminton club and an athletics club. One football club has a long-term agreement for use of the all-weather pitch.
On top of this, the centre has a women’s only fitness suite and is located right next to Batley Girls’ High School, which uses the premises for PE lessons.
Dewsbury Sports Centre – Over £500,000 deficit
The centre required the largest amount of maintenance over the next three years, with this anticipated to cost £2.1m. The site is described as “expensive to operate” and the council says further investigation into the presence of RAAC is required.
It is regularly used by one swimming club, one rowing club, one underwater hockey club, four karate clubs, three netball clubs, one cricket club, and four other local groups. It is also used for older people’s activity sessions. Facilities include two pools, a gym, an indoor Astroturf track, spa area and a sports hall.