Richmond Swimming Pool facing uncertain future due to energy price rises

Richmond Swimming Pool.

Richmond Swimming Pool and the Liberty Gym are facing an uncertain future due to huge rises in energy costs, it has emerged.

Richmondshire Leisure Trust (RLT), which operates the venues, says it is facing a 400 per cent increase in its energy bills at the two Richmond facilities, as well as Colburn Leisure Centre.

Last week, the trust announced it would have to hand back the keys to the Colburn centre at the end of November if a solution could not be found to the problem of rising costs.

The charity has issued a new statement today saying all three facilities are facing “huge pressures”.

Austin Gordon, the trust’s general manager, said the charity was “operating in an increasingly challenging business climate”.

“Its utilities contract has recently expired and costs or energy have now increased by over 400 per cent across its three sites.

“This is occurring at a time when other operating costs are significantly  increasing. In addition, some customers are struggling to fund basic living expenses which is  impacting on our income levels.”

Mr Gordon said the trust recognised that Richmond Pool, Liberty Gym and Colburn Leisure Centre were “much valued facilities which play a key role in supporting  our community’s physical and mental wellbeing”.

He added: “RLT remains committed to working with its partners and customers in order to continue to provide these much-needed services.

“We have been lobbying at local and national level in order to raise awareness on these huge pressures.

“We will continue to keep our community updated on developments during this challenging period.”

A spokesperson for Richmondshire District Council said the authority was aware of the difficulties faced at Colburn Leisure Centre.

They added: “The authority continues to support the Swimming Pool in Richmond, run by RLT through a long term lease for the site of the pool and a management agreement relating to the operation of the swimming pool.

“The pool is currently undergoing major external works to the building to secure its ongoing functions and improve efficiencies through the use of solar panels to the roof.

“The council will also continue to support RLT through its management agreement, having recently increased its funding contribution by £50,000 per year.

“The Council is also aware of the other sites that RLT has interests in, including Colburn Leisure Centre.

“Members of the council’s Corporate Board will discuss these issues at its meeting in November.”