Belper Leisure Centre currently faces the significant risk of closure due to the rising cost of energy and a lack of local and government funding.
Charity-run Belper Leisure Centre Limited has been providing valuable services to people in the local community for 49 years, including sports and leisure facilities. The centre is also the primary PE and exam facility for Belper School and is used by several area primary schools for swimming lessons.
Should Belper Leisure Centre close, the local community will lose access to leisure and recreation services, physical education, examination facilities for Belper School and Sixth Form Centre, and statutory swimming lessons for area primary schools.
Belper Leisure Centre has struggled to cope with the 400% increase in energy prices currently faced by leisure centres nationwide. In particular, their annual utility bill has risen from £112k in 2021/2022 to £480k for 2023/2024 and, whilst the centre managed to secure additional funding from Belper Town Council and Belper School, Derbyshire County Council and Amber Valley Borough Council have refused to help bridge the remaining £360k deficit forecast for the next financial year.
Adrian Evans, Chair of Belper Leisure Centre, comments: “Whilst I appreciate that we are an independent charity and are not owned by Amber Valley Borough Council, like the other three leisure centres in the Borough (William Gregg VC, Ripley and Alfreton), Belper Leisure Centre is a pillar of the community and provides a valuable service to our residents and the students of Belper School.
“Amber Valley Borough Council paid over £4m during the financial year 2022/2023 to the other three leisure centres under PFI agreements, including a contribution of £800k towards the rising costs of utility bills, whereas Belper Leisure Centre only received £40k from Amber Valley Borough Council, which is half of what we used to receive from them 2 years ago.
“It would appear that Amber Valley Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council are not prepared to assist in the resolution of this serious issue which will impact directly on the community and the PE and exam provision for Belper School.”
Belper Leisure Centre has engaged the services of Dean Nelson, Business Recovery and Insolvency Partner at PKF Smith Cooper.
Dean Nelson said: “Unfortunately, without significant funding support from either local or national Government, our only option is to market the leisure centre for sale. Whilst we hope there will be an interested party who may wish to continue to offer sports facilities, there is a possibility that purchasers may only be interested in the land. Alternatively, we may not be successful in finding a purchaser. In these circumstances, the leisure centre will have to close permanently, but that will be a last resort.
“We understand that this will cause a lot of concern for the community and for the current users of the Leisure Centre. We really appreciate your support in this matter and ask that you please bear with us and the Leisure Centre whilst we trade throughout this difficult period. If you are a current user or club, please review our FAQ web page at https://www.pkfsmithcooper.com/belper-leisure-centre-what-happens-next/ or email [email protected]for any further queries that are not addressed on the webpage.”
If you have further questions or enquiries, please contact [email protected] and a member of the team will be happy to help you.