Council to close sauna and spa facilities across Wiltshire

Wiltshire Council has decided on the future of its sauna, steam room and spa pool facilities at seven of its leisure centres.

The review follows the council’s decision to temporarily close the facilities in early 2023, due to the high costs to run them, at a time when energy costs were soaring and the impact on the council’s carbon footprint.

In total, it cost around £80,000 a year to operate the facilities, and in the nine months prior to closure, the open sites generated income of around £10,000.

The facilities also had an impact on the council’s carbon footprint.

The council has decided to reopen the health suite facility at Five Rivers Health and Wellbeing Centre in Salisbury on a trial basis to assess its sustainability.

It will reopen in September and more details on the specific date, its opening hours and how people can access it will be confirmed soon.

The health suite will permanently close at Marlborough Leisure Centre because the council is making improvements at the site, with the space needed to incorporate into the wet change, creating a much bigger changing area which will particularly help to support the school swimming lessons at the centre.

A Changing Places facility will also be installed, which will particularly benefit anyone with limited mobility or complex needs, as it helps them to get out and about and enjoy day-to-day activities.

The steam room at Marlborough has not been in use since before the pandemic.

The health suite facilities at The Olympiad in Chippenham will permanently close. The facilities at the site have not been in use since the pandemic and due to low usage prior to this, and that it would cost around £11,000 to get the suite in working order, it is not a viable option to bring it back into use.

The council will look at its options on how to make best use of this space to better complement the improvements works currently taking place at the centre.

The health suite facilities at Bradford-on-Avon, Devizes, Durrington and Springfield Community Campus (Corsham) will remain closed for the time being, with a decision made on their future in due course, which will be fully informed by the usage and any lessons learned from the reopening of the Five Rivers facilities.

Ian Blair-Pilling, cabinet member for leisure and public health said: “We have thought long and hard about what to do about these facilities. They are costly to run and do have an impact on our carbon footprint, though we do recognise that some people did enjoy using them.

“The space taken up by the Marlborough health suite will be put to good use as part of our major improvements taking place at the centre. Likewise at The Olympiad, we think the space can be put to much better use complementing the improvements works taking place there now.

“Many people have got in touch with us about the Five Rivers health suite facilities and clearly it has been missed by people in the area. As it won’t be a significant cost to reinstate the facilities at Five Rivers, we think it’s a sensible option to open them up again on a trial basis, at one of our flagship leisure facilities, to see if enough people use it to make it viable. That could then help us make a more informed decision about the facilities at Bradford, Devizes, Durrington and Corsham.

“We are in the process of working out the best way to offer these services to our customers at good value, but in a way that’s sustainable for us to run. We’ll have more information on this soon.

“We are committed to offering the best possible facilities for our residents to ensure their health and wellbeing is fully supported, and I thank people for their patience while we’ve been carrying out this important due diligence.”