Falmouth's Ships and Castle Leisure Centre could close at the end of March

Ships and Castles in Falmouth
Pendennis Leisure say more than 1,000 children from Falmouth and Penryn rely on Ships & Castles for swimming lessons Credit: ITV News

A community group trying to save Falmouth's leisure centre from closing says it is "absolutely gutted" it has been recommended for closure.

The Ships and Castles leisure centre was one of five at risk of being shut down after operator GLL said it could no longer afford to run them.

Since June 2021, Saltash leisure centre has been saved from closure, Launceston leisure centre will be handed back to its owner and the future of St Austell's hydrotherapy pool is still ongoing.

Now a new report is recommending councillors attending an 'extraordinary meeting' on Friday (4 March) should allow more time for alternative bids to run the Wadebridge leisure centre but Falmouth's Ships and Castles should be closed.

Pendennis Leisure, a community group formed after closure plans were announced, says it is doing all it can to save the pool before it is "lost and closed forever".

Director of the Pendennis Leisure Gemma Adams says the decision to close the centre is "short-sighted" and "unfair".

“The Cornwall Council plan to close the only public leisure centre serving almost 50,000 people in Falmouth, Penryn and surrounding areas is shortsighted, wasteful and will have a devastating effect on our community," she said.

"It feels particularly unfair to recommend closing just one leisure centre in Cornwall – Falmouth’s."

Families from across Cornwall have been campaigning to save the inital five leisure centres at risk. Credit: ITV News

She added it will impact more than 1,000 children who "depend" on the centre for swimming lessons.

In a statement released by the council, Cllr Richard Pears - who is responsible for the decision - said no bids put forward to run the leisure centre in Falmouth were able to do so without financial help from Cornwall Council.

"We have said all along that this is precisely what we cannot do," he said.

“No one underestimates the benefits of fitness and exercise, but the membership figures remain stubbornly low. 

“This has affected their viability, which I think has become clear to those organisations that came forward with proposals for running them. None could find a way of running Ships and Castles in Falmouth without a very significant subsidy from the council.” 

Cornwall Council’s cabinet will hold an extraordinary meeting on Friday 4 March 2022, to consider recommendations for the future of two of Cornwall’s leisure centres.