the Mayor has dismissed suggestions that three of Doncaster’s older leisure centres could be closed.
A report due to go before Doncaster Council’s cabinet this week suggested St James, Askern and Rossington leisure venues were on a potential ‘hit list’ so money could be spent on some of the others.
The possibility provoked an angry reaction in Askern and Rossington but Mr Davies yesterday made it clear that the ‘leisure centres are safe’.
Closing them was one option suggested as part of Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust’s plan to borrow up to £5.2 million to plough into their other venues, including a new spa at The Dome.
After the revelation in The Star’s sister paper, the Doncaster Free Press, Mr Davies issued a statement saying it had already been thrown out and he would do his best to keep leisure facuilities open. He said: “The fact is that we have just done the budget in which I saved all the leisure centres. This was put to bed on March 8.
“The only thing that is to close is one children’s centre, which is a remarkable achievement with the cuts imposed on Doncaster Council.
“The leisure centres are safe. As far as I am concerned some officers have put this report out and it has not been discussed with me. As soon as I saw it I chucked it in the bin.
“There are no plans to close leisure centres and people should have been well aware of my plans to keep these places open. This was thrown out before it got to the cabinet table.”
The declaration will placate the mayor of Askern, Coun Francis Jackson, who said residents would need to spend £8 on bus fares to visit another leisure centre if Askern was to close.
He said it would have been ‘very short-sighted’ because there is little for young people to do in Askern and it would have led to an increase in antisocial behaviour as well as failing to tackle obesity issues.
The £5.2 million loan requested by DCLT would also be spent on a tenpin bowling alley and soft play area at Adwick Leisure Centre and improvements to Dearne Valley at Denaby Main.
The report said Askern, Rossington and St James centres would need the highest level of subsidy.