Councillors called for urgent action to be taken after a leisure centre was forced to close due to the financial pressures caused by the pandemic.

Willowbrook Leisure Centre is located in the Ladygrove area of Didcot. In December 2020, the building closed and management company Soll, returned the keys to Didcot Town Council (DTC) who own the building and said that they would no longer continue to operate on the site.

Didcot town councillors Victoria Haval, David Rouane, Paul Giesberg and Phil Davies wrote an open letter to the DTC leader asking for urgent action to be taken to reopen the leisure centre.

In the open letter it suggests the council’s own road map to re-opening the building is not clear to either the residents or town councillors representing the Ladygrove area.

Read also: Call for urgent action on closed Willowbrook Leisure Centre in Didcot

DTC leader , Mocky Khan replied to the letter and said he was “surprised” by the allegations.

He highlighted there was an Extraordinary Council Meeting in December, social media statements and discussions about Willowbrook at Finance and General Purposes Committee. He explained further maintenance work needs to be done before the building is "safe" for the public and gave a timeline to the councillors.

He said: “As you are aware the financial position and impact of the pandemic has severely impacted DTC and we must find sensible and realistic solutions that are not just driven by what will look good publicly in advance of an election but what is the best long term for DTC and the community.”

Mr Khan explained in the letter that if the centre reopened as a gym DTC could end up with having to employ former staff with a combined salary of up to £90,000. Mr Khan said: “Adding the £300,000 financial loss due to the pandemic, DTC cannot afford this additional cost and DTC residents do not deserve further increase in Council Tax.”

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