Time running out to have say on future of Lifestyles service

Lifestyles gym
Lifestyles gym

There are just days to go for people to have their say on the future of three of Liverpool’s Lifestyles Centres.

The sport and outdoor recreation service needs to make budget savings of £10.5million in the next three years, with nearly £6.5million having to be made in the first year (2014/15).

In 2013/14 the cost of running the above centres was £14,954,830, the income generated was £7,651,550 which resulted in a deficit of £7,303,280.

The entire service has been reviewed, with a focus on the facilities, their condition, how well they are used and what the running costs are.

Members of the public are being asked to fill out a consultation questionnaire giving their views on some or all the proposals, and welcome suggestions of what people would like to see in the local area to reduce the impact of the potential closures. The deadline is Friday 30 May.

The consultation includes the future operation of swimming pools at Lifestyles Everton Park and Park Road and access arrangements for Lifestyles Austin Rawlinson. These three centres have been identified for closure or operational change because of their high operating and maintenance costs.

As a result, the following proposals are in place:

  • The closure of the Lifestyles Everton Park swimming pool, with a potential to shut the entire centre within three years.
  •  The closure of Lifestyles Park Road swimming pool, with a potential to shut the entire centre within three years.
  •  An operational change to Lifestyles Austin Rawlinson would see clubs and other organised groups who have block bookings be encouraged to be directly responsible for organising, planning and managing their sessions. Specific open access sessions for children, swimmers and gym members will be retained and improved.

The survey looks to establish what people’s concerns are should the centres close or reduce their opening hours, what the centres are currently used for (gym use, martial arts, football, swimming etc) and how far people travel to use a Lifestyle Centre. 

In addition to the questionnaire, there will be three public consultation meetings taking place:

  • Lifestyles Park Road: Tuesday 27 May, 5pm
  • Lifestyles Everton Park: Wednesday 28 May, 4pm
  • Lifestyles Austin Rawlinson: Thursday 29 May, 5pm

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for libraries, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “The scale of the cuts facing the service is extremely challenging and we need to look at all options available to us.

“We understand leisure facilities are hugely valued by local communities, and this questionnaire and the meetings are a vital way in which we can get the views of people, establish all options available and look at ways in which we can reduce the impact of the potential closures.

“There is no doubt that in the future the sports provision we offer will be reduced and people may well have to travel further to access the service.

“I hope as many people as possible take the opportunity to fill out the short form or attend one of the three public meetings and have their say on the proposals and in doing so, help shape the future of Lifestyles.”

The questionnaire can be found at www.liverpool.gov.uk/consultation, or in all Lifestyle Centres.

The city council currently operates ten facilities:

  • Lifestyles Alsop
  • Lifestyles Austin Rawlinson
  • Lifestyles Cardinal Heenan
  • Lifestyles Ellergreen
  • Lifestyles Garston
  • Lifestyles Everton Park
  • Lifestyles Millennium Gym
  • Lifestyles Aquatics Centre
  • Lifestyles Park Road
  • Lifestyles Peter Lloyd

Due to central government cuts, the city council is having to make savings of £156million across three years, in addition to the £173 million since 2011.