Croydon Council received nearly £1million of government Covid-19 cash from a fund to ensure local sports and leisure centres could reopen safely after the coronavirus lockdown – but the local authority have not shifted their weight to open up the doors of Purley Leisure Centre, which has been firmly locked shut since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
The Save Purley Pool campaign, backed by many locals, businesses, schools, sports clubs, staged protests outside the council-owned facilities on Tuesday 11th May, along with many petitions signed by locals in order to re-open the popular leisure centre for public use.
Despite other other local leisure centres across the borough re-opening due to the easing of the lockdown restrictions in May, Purley Leisure Centre, which holds a 25m public swimming pool and a gym that only had refurbishments completed before the first national lockdown, still remains shut with no confirmation as to when the facilities will be open again.
Campaigner, Richard Willmer expressed his frustration on behalf of the public on the lack of action from the Croydon Council on the re-opening of the centre, he said: “There is a growing frustration at the lack of interest and engagement from Croydon Council despite their assurances they would work with the community regarding Purley Leisure Centre.”
“Poor finances are really not excuse to keep it shut”, said Rachel Thompson, from the Save Purley Pool campaign.
“Our Freedom of Information request revealed that the council has received £924,000in funds from the National Leisure Centre Recovery Fund which specifically aims ‘to assist the recovery and the re-opening of leisure services’.
“Why has none of this money come Purley Leisure Centre’s way?”
Save Purley Pool have said they have been “inundated with messages” from the public, organisations, schools, sports clubs and residents about the adverse effects the closure of the centre since March 2020 is currently having on their lives and health.
A recent petition calling on Croydon Council to reopen the centre has more than 2,500 signatures as many of the public fight to save their local sports centre.
In response to the protests, a council spokesperson for Croydon Council has said: “No financial decision has yet been made on the long-term future of Purley Leisure Centre, and we will be in touch with local people about next steps in early summer.”
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