A junior football club may be able to save Woodchurch Leisure Center from demolition.
Wirral Council needs to save £20million to escape its budget black hole, with two damning government reports published last November saying the authority needs to spend less on leisure services.
The cuts plan would see the closure of 11 libraries, two public golf courses and the Woodchurch Leisure Centre, although the plans are not yet set in stone and could be rejected by councillors.
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As of this writing, 4,480 people have signed a change.org petition opposing the planned recreation center demolition.
Many have blasted the council for wanting to shut it down, with some calling the move ‘shameful’ and others calling on the local authority to save the ‘vital’ facility.
On its consultation website, Wirral Council said its plans to close the center were due to “the state of the facilities built on the site, the low levels of use compared to other sites, the level of investment required and the subsidy it entails”.
The statement added: ‘It is proposed that the center will be demolished to make way for a growth in outdoor leisure provision.
“The site adjacent to the Leisure Center will see the construction of a new oversized 3G artificial turf playing field and accompanying constructed facilities during the 2022-23 financial year.”
The proposal would save the local authority around £402,000 a year.
Paul Tyler, club secretary at Glenavon Junior Football Club, has confirmed to ECHO that the club are interested in taking over the leisure center if the council decides not to run it anymore.
However, Mr Tyler said it was “very early” and the club would need to know a lot more before doing anything other than express an interest.
He added that the club will ‘keep an open mind’ when it comes to the leisure centre.
Cllr Allan Brame, who represents Oxton, the area next to the Leisure Center and the area in which the football club is currently based, said: “We are very supportive [of the club’s interest].
“We think this is an option that really needs to be considered. If an alternative use [to demolition] can be found then great.”
On the Wirral Council’s public consultation website, the reason for the need to save money has been stated.
A statement on the website read: ‘Wirral Council is facing significant financial challenges and is currently going through a detailed process to establish a budget for next year. This is part of a broader approach to addressing long-term structural issues in the council’s finances and achieving substantial savings to balance the budget.
“The council is legally bound to balance its budget or risk government intervention, and the cost-saving measures currently proposed are intended to put the authority on a stable long-term financial footing.”