Fury over leisure centre holiday time

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Leisure centre users are up in arms after it was revealed Waves and Cascade Leisure centre in Lurgan and Portadown are to close for two weeks over Christmas and New Year.

Craigavon Borough Council is closing centres from December 20 until January 2 inclusive, but keeping Brownlow open, citing costs as the reason.

Looking to other leisure centres run by neighbouring councils the ‘MAIL’ learned both Banbridge and Armagh centres are open for the majority of the holiday period, closed only on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Lurgan businessman Irvine Grey was furious at the move, which he says has come at a time when parents with children off school could be making good use of the facilities.

He was also concerned at restricted opening times with Lurgan and Portadown gyms usually open at 7am for those wishing to work-out in the early part of the day while Brownlow doesn’t open till 9am which would not suit many going to work.

Lurgan man Roy Hanna, who has been a member of Waves for more than 15 years, said this was the third year in a row it had been closed for 12 or more days over the holiday period.

He said, “Closing the facility for this length of time is a disgrace, especially now when improving people’s health is high on the list to reduce NHS costs.”

A council spokesperson said: “Council always ensures best value for our ratepayers and the Christmas schedule put in place for the leisure centres saves approximately £30,000 over an 11 day period.

She said: “Both the low level of usage by customers over Christmas and the cost of opening the three facilities makes it uneconomical to open them all, but council hopes that patrons will make use of the excellent facilities at CLC until January 2.

“Throughout the three leisure centres council tries to ensure that all our customers’ needs are met to the best of our ability. With regards to Waves swimming pool council caters for a wide range of customers.”