Sports centre to remain closed this year as council cancels contract early

Churchill Sports Centre

Churchill Sports Centre - Credit: Archant

Churchill Sports Centre will remain closed after North Somerset Council ended its contract with the centre’s operators early.

The council is ‘exploring options for a sustainable future’ for the sports centre after agreeing to end its contract with current operators GLL.

GLL has run the centre on behalf of the council for the past five years.

The contract was due to end in March 2021.

The centre has been closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

MORE: Call for urgent funding to save leisure centres.

The council has been working with GLL to try to find a way to re-open the centre with restrictions still in place, but this has not proved possible.

One nearby homeowner, who did not want to be named, said it’s a big loss to the community.

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They told the Mercury: “It’s really disappointing for the community to lose these facilities, particularly at a time when health, fitness and mental wellbeing are so important and especially with all the new housing developments being built around the area, meaning there will be more people who would benefit from these facilities being available.”

The council said it is working with the community ‘to find the best way to operate the site in the future’.

Its spokesman said: “The venue’s narrow corridors makes it difficult to put the necessary social distancing measures in place to ensure the safety of both staff and customers.

“Operating on a site shared with Churchill Academy and Sixth Form Centre means there are additional complexities of ensuring the safety of students at this time.

“In addition, re-opening the centre with only limited facilities would not be financially viable with the current contract due to end in just six months’ time.

“This means the centre will not re-open this year and will remain closed while the council explores working with the community and local partners to find the best way to operate it in the future.”

Cllr Caritas Charles, the council’s executive member for leisure, culture and tourism, added: “It is with regret that North Somerset Council and GLL have come to this decision.

“Operational issues and the effects of the pandemic have unfortunately left us with no other viable option at this time.

“The council will be in active discussions in the months ahead with the wider community in discussing possible solutions and how we can work together to provide a positive outcome for the community.

“Working with partners on future opportunities for this facility supports the council’s continued commitment to supporting leisure provision across the district.”