Rethink on gym loan plan wanted

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Councillors are today being asked to reconsider plans to lend millions of pounds to help renovate one of Doncaster’s oldest leisure centres.

A decision was taken last month by Doncaster Council to provide a loan of £2.8 million to Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust to invest in Adwick Leisure Centre to increase revenue and usage of the facility, which dates from the 1970s.

But the decision has been ‘called in’ by a group of opposition councillors who want the council’s overview and scrutiny management committee to look at it again.

Five councillors have requested the hearing and one of them, Coun Martin Williams (independent) said: “We are concerned that the financial resources of DCLT may not be robust enough to enable them to repay the loan when they are already being subsidised.

“If events do not go according to the financial forecast then the outcomes and objectives will not be achieved.

“We are concerned that the financial plan is dependant on the take-up of the public using both the bowling alley and expanded gym. What evidence is there for this assumption? The financial package being offered to DCLT contains too much risk and too much assumption that this decision will secure the future of other leisure cnetres in the borough.”

Doncaster Council says the north of the borough is under-provided for in leisure opportunities and DCLT wants to convert most of the main hall at Adwick into a 10-pin bowling alley, convert a squash court into a soft play area, and create a new mezzanine floor to increase the amount of gym equipment to double capacity to 2,500 members.