Leisure centre to close ‘permanently’ as costs soar

A Huddersfield leisure centre is to close its doors for good at the end of this month.

Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL), which runs the Stadium Health and Fitness Club, says the facility will close on Thursday 30 November, adding that difficult financial conditions had left it with no alternative.

In a statement, not-for-profit charity KAL, explained: “We absolutely appreciate that customers will be disappointed with this outcome, however the extremely challenging financial circumstances and high rental/service charge costs at the Stadium site give KAL no alternative but to sadly end our lease at the facility.”

KAL has previously warned it was having to contend with “significant, uncontrollable increases in energy and staffing costs”.

It said although Kirklees Council had been very supportive so far, due to the council’s own financial hurdles, for the next financial year beginning April 2024 the level of funding provided to KAL by the council would be slashed from £6.1m in the current year to £2.55m.

KAL said this level of funding is significantly below what is required to operate its services in their current format, so required “very difficult decisions” to be made.

Its statement notes: “KAL operates the Stadium Health and Fitness Club on a commercial lease basis, with significant rental and service charge costs to Kirklees Stadium Development Limited (KSDL), the overall operator of the John Smith’s Stadium site, being a major factor for the facility operating at a substantial loss.

“Unfortunately, this position is no longer sustainable for the charity, and, to allow KAL to decant the Stadium site, it is with significant regret that KAL must inform customers that  the Stadium Health and Fitness Club will close permanently on Thursday 30 November 2023.”

KAL operates a total of 10 sport and leisure centres across the borough on behalf of Kirklees Council, and its facilities in Batley and Colne Valley were closed last year.