The Friends of Friary Grange group have issued a statement in response to news that the Friary Grange Leisure Centre will not reopen to the public until later this year. The group was formed in 2019 after 11,000 Lichfield residents signed a petition to keep the leisure centre open, following notice from Lichfield District Council that it was to close.
The statement reads:
“Whilst we understand the challenges Lichfield District Council are facing, it is disappointing for the people of Lichfield to hear that Friary Grange Leisure Centre will not open until later in the year. We were also concerned to read Cllr Rob Strachan’s recent comments which appear to cast some doubt on the future funding of Lichfield District Council’s leisure centres.
The need for affordable local facilities that our community can use to help maintain both their physical fitness and mental health has never been greater, particularly as we begin to emerge from lockdown.
We appreciate that the council faces unprecedented financial demands as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and we would certainly endorse Cllr Doug Pullen’s call for greater support from central government, but we would also urge Lichfield District Council to keep in mind their promise, made in front of a full-house at the Garrick Theatre last October, to not only keep Friary Grange open but also fund a long-term replacement facility in the city. Additionally, we look forward to hearing news about the tender process for contracted work in the near future, and will be keenly watching Thursday’s meeting of the Leisure Overview & Scrutiny Meeting.
We feel sure that a good many of the 11,000 supporters who signed our petition will be watching future developments with great interest. We certainly will be.”