Albion Leisure Centre may be put up for sale

The Albion Leisure Centre in Ilkeston.
The Albion Leisure Centre in Ilkeston.

After years in limbo the fate of Ilkeston’s Albion Leisure Centre could be decided by the council during a meeting next week.

During the meeting on Thursday January 12 the council’s executive committee will be asked to consider selling the long-term empty sports facility on the open market.

An item on the Erewash Borough Council agenda for the meeting states that “the building is now surplus to requirements”.

The Albion has not been used as a leisure centre since 2008 but it is used by the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

Talk of closing the centre first emerged in 2007 when Mike Wallis, lead member for culture and leisure services, said: “Essentially it can be argued that the area is over-provided for in terms of indoor sports facilities, and that with some investment at Rutland Sports Park it would be possible to relocate most or all of the staff and service users from the Albion Leisure Centre to Rutland Sports Park, and other leisure facilities across the borough.”

Several attempts were made after the facility’s closure to see it brought back into use as a sports centre or for other purposes.

In 2009 public group the Friends of Albion Leisure Centre (FALC) applied to reopen the building as a social enterprise, but their bid was rejected.

And a petition signed by more than 5,000 people was handed over at Erewash Borough Council.

In 2012 members of the Derbyshire Anti-Cuts Campaign called for it to opened on evenings and weekends for community use.

Member Liz Potter told the Tiser: “Today in Ilkeston, there are more and more families who are living on the breadline and struggling to put food on the table as they suffer redundancy, wage freezes and rising prices for bills, petrol and rent.

“Could we not open up the Albion Centre as a drop-in centre where the most needy in our communities could get a bit of support, maybe have a shower, have a meal, or get short term help if they are in a crisis?”

The press and public will be excluded from the discussions during Thursday’s executive meeting. Erewash Borough Council’s website states that information is exempt when ‘public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.’