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Brentwood Leisure Centre forced to close

The Brentwood Leisure Trust has run the site since 2004 (credit: Brentwood Leisure Trust)

The Brentwood Leisure Centre has shut after struggling financially due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The local council has claimed it can no longer fund the Brentwood Leisure Trust (BLT) which ran the facility as it would break State Aid law.

Under the law, it is illegal for a public body to prop up a company that is running at a loss. According to the council, the charity also operates as a business because it makes a profit through it’s gym and tenants. 

“For many years the council [has] funded the BLT to keep them in a position of solvency,” said the leader of Brentwood Borough Council, Cllr Chris Hossack.

“Their most recent request for additional funding could not be met by the Council so unfortunately, as the centre’s leaseholder, they will become insolvent.

“The Brentwood Centre however remains and it is our intention that the centre continues to provide the services it has.”

Mr Hossack said the site will reopen following a transition period but it is unclear if the council will seek a new operator or begin running the site itself.

He also refuted claims that the facility will be knocked down and replaced with housing.

Councillors reportedly voted unanimously not to support the BLT at a council meeting on Wednesday, 7 October. 

However, the BLT has claimed it was not made aware of the outcome of the meeting until a week later. 

It has accused the council of making decisions behind closed doors and called for the transcript of the meeting to be made public.  

The Trust also encouraged residents to support them by lobbying their MP and local councillors. 

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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