Over 160 memberships cancelled at now re-opened borough leisure centres which had closed because of the covid lockdown

The Seven Towers leisure centre in Ballymena. Picture: Google Maps

OVER 160 people have cancelled membership of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s now re-opened leisure centres which had been closed for a number of months due to the covid lockdown.

The figure was revealed in a report presented to a meeting of the council in Ballymena on Monday night.

In addition, 334 memberships have remained frozen with income for this month expected to be £34,000 less than pre-lockdown in March.

This month’s income from direct debits for leisure membership is expected to amount to £30,000, the report stated.

Mid and East Antrim’s leisure centres in Ballymena, Larne and Carrick reopened last month.

Councillors were told that if usage does not “significantly increase”, restricted opening hours could continue until December.

If demand remains low, the report said, it is expected that there will be “no requirement” for additional agency hours and that leisure centre closures may occur during winter months if restrictions are tightened due to the Covid pandemic.

Gym usage at Seven Towers Leisure Centre in Ballymena was just nine per cent in the second week of reopening, 14 per cent in Larne and 42 per cent at the Amphitheatre in Carrickfergus.

The Council was told there has been “minimal use” of agency staff during September and for October.

It is hoped that “colder weather and darker nights will see an increase in indoor leisure,” the report said.

Larne Lough DUP councillor Gregg McKeen told the meeting that “in the current climate with Covid and financially”, usage is something to “keep a close eye on”.

Ballymena TUV councillor Matthew Armstrong warned that action is needed on leisure usage “sooner rather than later”.

“It needs an eye kept on it. It is really disappointing to see it that low in Ballymena compared to the Amphitheatre and Larne,” he told the meeting.

 

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