Job threat at leisure centre
A SUFFOLK leisure centre is today bracing itself for job losses – despite a £62,000 programme of improvements being announced.Cuts are being made at Stowmarket's Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre as the district council owners look to make overall budget savings of around £1.
A SUFFOLK leisure centre is today bracing itself for job losses – despite a £62,000 programme of improvements being announced.
Cuts are being made at Stowmarket's Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre as the district council owners look to make overall budget savings of around £1.57million.
Included in these measures is combining the current three reception areas at the centre into one, costing an initial £30,000.
A further £12,000 will also be spent on making the area more accessible to the disabled, to comply with new government regulations. When completed, it is hoped the move will save the tax payer £43,000 each year.
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Chris Fry, head of leisure and services at Mid Suffolk District Council, stressed the scheme had yet to be formally approved but said: "There has to be some rationalisation of staff when we combine three reception areas.
"The centre has always performed very well but at a time when finances are very tight, we're trying to look at ways to make savings.
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"Undoubtedly there will be some reductions in staffing as a result of this to try and make the facility more effective."
The council has already announced 30 council jobs are likely to go, with some of the losses focused on the leisure and amenities area.
A meeting of the council on January 5 will reaffirm the budget balancing measures.
Meanwhile, an Astroturf pitch on the Gainsborough Road site, which has caused "grave concern", will be refurbished to the tune of £20,000.
Its use is currently shared between the leisure centre and next-door Stowmarket High School, bringing in an annual income of £7,500.
But in recent months, the surface has fallen into disrepair to the point where it is becoming unsafe to use.
A report to councillors states: "The current condition of the Astroturf on the outdoor courts is giving grave cause for concern.
"It is likely the facility will need to be closed unless remedial action is taken urgently."
The cost is likely to be equally split between the district and county councils, with the work expected to be completed by April.
Pool covers, costing more than £20,000 to install, are set to be put in at the centre to make energy efficiency savings of nearly £5,000.