The future of Ships and Castles in Falmouth appears to be secure for the time being at least, after Cornwall Council approved £750k of health and safety work at the leisure centre.
There were fears that the facility would be closed down, due to mounting maintenance costs.
The council had originally intended to take a detailed report on the potential options for the future of the centre to the next meeting of the Resources Policy Advisory Committee.
However, information received from officers showed that some works need to be carried out urgently to enable the building to continue to remain open.
Adam Paynter, the Council’s cabinet member for resources, said: “As a result I have agreed to authorise the spending of up to £750k to carry out these works.
“£427k of this sum will come from the balance of the £3.9 million allocated for health and safety works on all Council owned leisure centres, with an additional £323k allocated from the £1.3 million underspend identified in last year’s Council budget.
“Whilst the budget has been approved, I have asked officers to closely scrutinise the contractor’s proposals to ensure value for money at every stage of the project.”
Local Cornwall Councillor, Geoffrey Evans, welcomed the decision to carry out the works. He said: “I am delighted that the funds have been found to keep the Ships and Castles centre open.
“It is a valuable community resource and it is important that we address the significant issues affecting this centre.”
The centre will have to be temporarily closed while some elements of the works are carried out but the Council will work with Tempus to schedule closures to have minimum impact on customers.
Paynter added: “Over the past ten months the Council has carried out works at all the other Council run leisure centres to ensure that they comply with the required health and safety standards.
“This will help to ensure that they remain open whilst we implement the Leisure Resources Strategy approved by members earlier this year.
“The works which will be carried out at Ships and Castles mean that this building will be improved to the same standard as the other leisure centres in terms of health and safety compliance so it can be included as part of this process rather than being considered separately. The works will not address the non-health and safety issues.
“Our aim is to ensure that Cornwall’s leisure centres continue to operate as leisure centres and that a sustainable future is secured through the implementation of the leisure strategy.
“We are aware of the importance of the centres to Cornwall but are striving to find a way for the centres to be sustained without ongoing subsidy from the Council. The amount of investment needed in the centres in the medium/long term is considerable and the Council is looking to secure investment from leisure operators through a tender process.”