BUS services, libraries (mobile or otherwise) and tourist information, the list of services hitherto provided by local councils and now under threat grows by the day.
In County Durham, six leisure centre have been added to the list and a campaign is under way to save them.
The county council’s case for closure is difficult to argue against. All of the threatened centres are smaller and, in the main, older facilities. In a number of cases, bigger and more modern facilities are not too far away.
And even if the closures go ahead, Durham County will still be better provided for than many comparable areas.
But if communities want to save their individual centres, every opportunity should be afforded them to gather the information and have the time necessary to make informed decisions about the practicality and viability of taking a leisure centre on.
The county wants to make a final decision in the summer, with closures (or transfers) in the autumn. There isn’t much time for interested groups and individuals to set up trusts. The county has said it will work with such groups. In practice, it will need to provide a great deal of advice and support. We hope the communities prepared to take on this not inconsiderable burden receive it.