Colburn Leisure Centre facing closure after £57,000 increase in energy bills

Colburn Leisure Centre.

Colburn Leisure Centre is facing an uncertain future after managers calculated that their energy and water bills were set to rise by £57,000.

Richmondshire Leisure Trust (RLT), which runs the facility, has today given its notice saying it had taken the decision due to “significant increase in operating costs”.

The trust has told Colburn Town Council which owns the site at a meeting last night that its energy and water bills were estimated to rise from £15,000 last year to £72,000 a year following the end of its previous energy contract on September 1.

Austin Gordon, the trust’s general manager, said in a statement: “Due to a significant increase in operating costs Richmondshire Leisure Trust (RLT) are unable to operate Colburn Leisure Centre under its present arrangement from Colburn Town Council.

“RLT have therefore given notice to Colburn Town Council to terminate its management under the present arrangements from 30th November 2022.

“In the event of this situation changing a further statement will be issued.”

Mr Gordon added that the centre was facing a “perfect storm” with a potential loss of revenue with people having less disposal income due to the rise in costs coupled with a huge rise in its own bills.

“We had meeting yesterday with the town council and said we just can’t continue with the current arrangement.

“We can’t continue to lose that amount of money every month.”

Mayor of Colburn, Cllr Jag Sharma, said the town council had a meeting with the leisure trust last night where they were told the trust needed more money to cover the additional costs.

He added: “We would be heartbroken if the centre was to close but we don’t have the amount of money that they need..

“We have advised the trust to speak to the district and county councils, as well as other organisations, who hold the funding.”

Cllr Sharma said the town council was speaking to its solicitors as a matter of urgency regarding the situation.

Hipswell and Colburn county councillor Kevin Foster attended Monday’s meeting.

He said: “Hopefully a way forward can be found and another company can be brought in to take over the running of the leisure centre.”