Underwood Leisure Centre could be sold off
3:01pm Monday 9th September 2013 in News
NEWPORT council could be set to sell off or rent out a former leisure centre closed as part of budget cuts earlier this year.
A report to cabinet member for human resources and assets, Councillor Mark Whitcutt, has sought his approval for Underwood Leisure Centre to be disposed of.
The leisure centre was made vacant earlier this year after the council decided to withdraw sport and leisure services from the property in April 2013.
According to the report the centre is now “40 years old” and is in a poor condition.
“Usage of the facility had also reduced from 2007 to 33 hours per week which has further encouraged the decision to withdraw the service,” the report says.
An officer wrote there was no other requirement from the council to use the building, and proposes that the property is disposed of to generate income either in rent or the form of a capital receipt.
Tory Cllr Martyn Kellaway, whose Llanwern ward covers Underwood, wrote to officers that “the area is in need of something that may contribute to the wellbeing of the community of Underwood.
“Hopefully this should be a priority to any lease holder or new owner such as a community group,” he said.
Cllr Whitcutt is likely to make a decision on the report within the next month.
The closure of Underwood Leisure Centre, which was proposed as part of the cuts to the 2012/13 Newport council budget, provoked opposition from residents in the estate.
Some 1,700 people signed handed a petition in to the council to protest the move which was expected to save the authority £58,000.
A total of 1,000 letters were also written to the authority while a plan was proposed for the centre to be given to a trust with volunteers using it as a community hub.
But Newport council said the centre had a number of major structural problems and that usage was low compared to other sport and leisure facilities.
It was decided the venue would close on April 1 2013.
Newport Council, in common with most authorities in the UK, faced having to make significant budget cuts in 2013/14 with the authority needing to save £8.4 million.
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