Fears Swindon's leisure centres may have to close over winter

·2-min read
The Health Hydro, The Link Centre and the delta tennis centre are three of the six public leisure facilities run in Swindon by Better
The Health Hydro, The Link Centre and the delta tennis centre are three of the six public leisure facilities run in Swindon by Better

Six public leisure centres across Swindon should not be closed 'long-term' because of the increasing costs of running them.

That’s according to Better, the organisation which runs six centres: the Health Hydro, The Link Centre, Dorcan, Haydon and Croft leisure centres and Delta Tennis Centre.

But Better – the trading name of GLL - did not rule out the possibility of temporary or short-term disruption caused by the rocketing cost of fuel.

A spokesman for the charitable organisation said: “Whilst GLL is being hit very hard by the massive increases in energy bills which hugely affects swimming pools such as the Health Hydro and also The Link’s ice rink and swimming pool, we are confident that there will be no long-term closures.

“We will, of course, be doing everything we can to reduce energy consumption, particularly during the winter period”.

There has been a suggestion, made by a leisure industry body UK Active that as many as 85 per cent of publicly-owned facilities could be forced to close this winter.

A letter signed by each member of UK Active’s membership council, who heads up companies such as Gymbox, Total Fitness, Fitness First, Pure Gym, Anytime Fitness, the IFBA and Myzone Group, said: “With no financial support, more than half of all public and private facilities will be forced to close some or all of their sites.

“This includes up to 85 per cent of public leisure facilities within the next six months.”

Some help was announced on Wednesday when the government announced it would help limit the increases in energy costs for businesses.

It set a supported wholesale price at £211 per MWh for electricity and £75 per MWh for gas, less than half the wholesale prices anticipated this winter.

This applies to It will apply to fixed contracts agreed on or after 1 April 2022, as well as to deemed, variable and flexible tariffs and contracts and will affect energy usage from  October 1  to March 31 March 2023.

One Swindon facility which was run by Better has already closed – owing in part to the costs of heating and lighting.

The organisation said it would not open The Oasis Centre when it closed for the second lockdown of 2020 in October and November, citing the difficulty in making a profit - saying the dome was poorly insulated and the pool space needed a lot of money to heat.

Unlike the Oasis which is owned on a 99-year lease from the council by Seven capital, Swindon Borough Council still owns the six other facilities run by Better.