Erewash Council set to axe leisure centre cafés and crèche

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Erewash Borough Council looks set to close crèche and café facilities at its leisure centres in an effort to meet further budget cuts.

The council executive took the unanimous decision to close the crèche and café at West Park Leisure Centre in Long Eaton and the café at Victoria Park Leisure Centre in Ilkeston at a meeting on Thursday, October 6.

The move has been referred to the council’s scrutiny committee to ensure it complies with due process, but leaders hope to implement the closures on or by December 1.

Tim Spencer, the council’s head of sport and leisure, said: “In response to financial pressures, the council has undertaken a review of all services including the cafeterias.

“The findings of the review show a disproportionately high level of cost compared to the number of people using the facilities and the income generated. In short these services are being heavily subsidised by taxpayers in Erewash.”

The council has delivered £2.5million of savings over the last five years and needs to reduce annual revenue costs by a further £1.6million over the next two years as central government funding received by the council is set to fall again.

The cafés have seen nearly £100,000 in refurbishment spending within the last few years, but the improvements have failed to make operations more sustainable. Inspection of the cafes’ finances revealed the businesses operated at a loss of £27,201 at West Park and £16,485 at Victoria Park in the last financial year.

The report suggested that to break even, prices would have to increase by 58 per cent, which would likely reduce demand.

Mr Spencer added: “Our aim is to provide services of a high standard and our leisure centres will still continue to offer a wide range of family, social and community oriented activities that are competitively priced and strive to meet the needs of the local people.”

The council expects to provide snacks and beverages through vending machines, and seating areas where people can eat their food on site.