MIDDLEWICH Leisure Centre is one of two facilities which could be dropped by the council as it looks to make savings of £1.3 million.

Cheshire East Council has unveiled fresh proposals for leisure services across the borough.

It had previously been reported that several sites were under threat of closure due to budget constraints.

However, the new plans suggest that while none will close, the council will essentially cut ties with centres in Middlewich and Holmes Chapel.

Chairman of the environment and communities committee, Cllr Mick Warren, said: “The council receives no permanent income stream from leisure services.

“But the council is responsible for paying building maintenance and utilities costs – which are rising drastically – and it also invests in leisure services through the payment of an annual management fee.

“We must now look at how we can do things differently and focus the budget we do have available to us on where it will have the biggest impact, for the most people.

“The proposals we are putting forward will ensure that leisure services can become more financially sustainable for the medium to longer-term, and that we can also continue to provide leisure centres that are modern and well-equipped.”

Northwich Guardian: Middlewich Leisure CentreMiddlewich Leisure Centre (Image: Supplied)

A six-week consultation was launched in November last year, to get people’s views on the future of leisure services in Cheshire East.

In total, there were 2,769 responses to the survey as well as 522 social media engagements, 403 responses via letter or email, and 34 attendees at consultation events.

It was found that 84 per cent of people used council leisure facilities every week with a 'significant proportion' of the responses opposing the potential site closures at Middlewich and Poynton.

A report has been put together based on these responses while also considering the need to secure an increased savings target in leisure services of £1.3 million in 2024/25, as approved in the council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy 2024-2028 earlier this week.

This report recommends the 'asset disposal' of the Homes Chapel and Middlewich centres.

This would mean the two high schools which currently have joint use of the sites could develop new ways of operating them.

Northwich Guardian: Holmes Chapel Leisure CentreHolmes Chapel Leisure Centre (Image: Supplied)

Other proposals include new ‘top up’ funding arrangements and increasing prices.

For example, the concessionary membership scheme discount could be reduced from 25 per cent to 20 per cent and would only be available to Cheshire East residents.

There are also plans for improvement works at the most popular centres, such as Wilmslow which could see £500,000 spent on new changing facilities.

Cheshire East Council’s environment and communities committee will discuss the report at a meeting on March 11.