Leisure chief resigns ahead of council budget cuts

  • Published

The leisure and culture chief for Blackburn with Darwen Council has resigned ahead of a meeting to rubber stamp cuts to leisure services.

The local authority is trying to cut £4m from its budget which would see the pool at Shadsworth Leisure closed and funding for community centres reduced.

Councillor Trevor Maxfield resigned from the ruling coalition on Thursday, along with Councillor Anthony Meleady.

The pair have said they will continue their work as independent councillors.

Deputy chief executive of Blackburn with Darwen Council, Harry Catherall, said: "Councillor Trevor Maxfield and Councillor Anthony Meleady informed the council of their resignation from the For Darwen Party and the withdrawal of their support from the coalition.

"Any implications arising from the resignation will now be considered in line with the council constitution."

'Significant savings'

The council is conducting a major review of all services to save £40m over the next four years as it prepares for a reduction in grants given to local government.

The council's executive board met on Thursday night to finalise the plans that had been previously set out.

The pool of the Shadworth Leisure centre will be closed at the end of August. But all other facilities will remain and the centre will continue to be managed and funded by the council.

Blakewater College will continue to use the dry facilities during the day, which include a sports hall, squash courts and a gym.

These will then be open to the public as part of the re:fresh programme during the evening and weekends.

Club and schools which currently use the swimming pool at Shadsworth Leisure Centre are being offered alternatives in the other pools in the borough.

Councillor Michael Lee, the council leader, said: "We have listened to the people who use the centre.

"By using the re:fresh scheme we can keep many popular activities running whilst still achieving the significant savings of £200,000 a year the council needs."

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