Colne sauna to remain closed

Colne Leisure Centre members Leonard Kershaw, Jim McKiernan, Gerald Hollos and Martin Baldwin who are outraged after the sauna was cut from the council budget.

Colne Leisure Centre members Leonard Kershaw, Jim McKiernan, Gerald Hollos and Martin Baldwin who are outraged after the sauna was cut from the council budget.

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The long fight to save the sauna at Pendle Leisure Centre, Colne, has ended in failure.

Ever since the decision to close the facility was made at Pendle Council’s annual budget meeting in February as part of severe expenditure cuts, users have fought to keep it open, raising petitions and making pleas to councillors and Pendle Leisure Trust bosses to find alternative ways of saving cash.

But at Wednesday night’s meeting of the council’s Executive, a last-ditch bid to reverse the decision came to nought.

A good number of users of the sauna attended the meeting and one of them, Martin Baldwin, asked for time to be given for them to formulate a plan showing how the sauna could be seen to make money.

The budget meeting was told that closure would save around £7,500 a year.

“People are passionate about keeping the sauna open and making it a viable long-term proposition,” said Mr Baldwin.

But his pleas failed to convince councillors that the closure should be changed.

Coun. Linda Crossley said: “The original decision was made on the advice of Pendle Leisure Trust who know what the position is.

“I am sure we made the right decision and we should stick by it.”

Coun. Tony Beckett said: “We have to save millions of pounds and it would be wrong to change this decision.

“If we did that we wouild be inundated with requests from other groups who could present a simlar case.

“As a council, we have difficult decisions to make and this is one of them. We have to make a budget and decide which cuts are the right ones and which are the wrong ones.

“We should not be making precedents otherwise we would be spending a lot of time listening to requests like this.”

And Coun. Graham Waugh said leisure trust chief executive Phil Storey had been through his budget with a fine toothcomb.

“He has to generate revenue and look at schemes which make money,” he said. “If he thought he could make £10 by keeping the sauna open, he would do.”