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The Bristol Cable

Kingsdown Sports Centre threatened with closure

Jubilee Pool in Knowle faces the same fate, under a new proposed ‘leisure investment strategy’ from the council.

City

Kingsdown Sports Centre on Portland Street is threatened with closure under plans that could also spell the end of Jubilee Pool in Knowle, unless other organisations offer to run them instead.

Campaigners have already vowed to save Jubilee Pool, which faces the same fate under Bristol City Council’s proposed ‘leisure investment strategy’.

A report due before the city’s Labour administration next week seeks cabinet approval to undertake a public consultation on the proposals. The strategy would see the council put extra money into up to three of its nine sports facilities but withdraw funding for Jubilee Pool and Kingsdown Sports Centre, according to the report.

The council pays private providers to run both facilities, and those contracts end in March next year.

Its plans to permanently close the pool caused a public outcry when they were first released last summer, so the council said it would decide its long-term fate after a public consultation. But a report recommending the closure of both Kingsdown Sports Centre and Jubilee Pool is set to be rubber-stamped by cabinet on Tuesday, September 21.

The report sets out several reasons for the proposal, including the proximity of the gym to Bristol University’s new sports centre and the fact it would save the council money to close it.

“Kingsdown Sports Centre is attracting few new members and is not retaining members in a very competitive environment,” the report says.

“As a dry side facility, it requires an annual revenue subsidy and due to its immediate demographic profile and geographical location, contributes less towards the council’s strategic outcomes for sport and physical activity.”

The report adds that both the gym and the pool could be saved by any private business or community group willing to take ownership and responsibility for running either facility if the council withdraws funding. The second option is known as a Community Asset Transfer (CAT).

Community group Friends of Jubilee Pool have already submitted a CAT request to the council to transfer the ownership and management of the pool to the group, according to Liberal Democrat councillor Gary Hopkins.

Jubilee Pool, Knowle

The public consultation will ask residents pick from three options for investing more money in three of the city’s leisure centres.

All three options – an upgrade of Easton Leisure Centre, extension of Horfield Leisure Centre, and basic refurbishment of Bristol South Pool – would involve the council stopping the operation of Jubilee Swimming Pool and Kingsdown Sports Centre.

“On the basis that the council cannot afford all three investment options, the consultation will ask the public to prioritise where they think investment should be made,” the report says.  

A report on the results of the consultation and officers’ final recommendations will come before cabinet in February next year, according to the report.

New leisure centre management arrangements are expected to be in place by April 2023. 

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