Deadline looming for consultation on withdrawing Tameside leisure services

Time is running out for people to take part in a consultation on withdrawing services from three of Tameside's loss-making leisure centres, including its bowling centre and trampoline park.

Members agreed at an executive cabinet meeting last month to launch a public consultation on initial proposals to withdraw Active Tameside services from Adventure Longdendale, Active Oxford Park and the Etherow Centre.

When not closed under lockdown measures, Active Longdendale, on Manley Grove in Mottram in Longdendale, currently offers a trampoline zone, laser zone and a soft play area for children.

Located on Pottinger Street in Ashton-under-Lyne, Active Oxford Park offers a range of fitness facilities, including a gym and a sports hall with three courts.

The Etherow Bowling and Activity Centre, run by Active Tameside, is on the upper floor of the Etherow Centre – a former railway warehouse – on Market Street in Broadbottom.

It is not clear whether the three centres will permanently close to the public if the services are withdrawn following the consultation. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the financial pressures on the leisure trust, as lockdown restrictions have meant its facilities have been closed for most of the year.

Active Tameside estimate that withdrawing services from the three facilities will save £98k a year.

Last month, councillors became embroiled in a row over Active Tameside after a Tory member claimed it was a 'ticking time bomb'.

At a meeting of the full council, Conservative Stalybridge South councillor Liam Billington was critical of the money that had been loaned to Active Tameside by the town hall.

In November the council agreed a £1.8 million loan to keep the leisure trust afloat for the remainder of the financial year.

But councillors involved with Active Tameside told the meeting it was ‘more than a gym’ and had already paid back most of the loan money used following an insurance payout.

A six-week consultation launched last month and will close on Friday (26 March). 

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