Pool attendance targets not readjusted despite six month closure

Newry Leisure Centre.Newry Leisure Centre.
Newry Leisure Centre.
Concerns have been raised that new council improvement targets for attendance at Newry swimming pool have not been readjusted despite its closure for an estimated six months.

The figures were released this week at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s (NMDDC) strategy, policy and resources committee.

The local authority has projected almost one million visitors to its leisure facilities, however its CEO has now suggested the financial impact of the pool closure would need to be monitored.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Downpatrick SDLP rep, Gareth Sharvin said: "I’m looking at the target projected for 2024-25 of performance improvement under leisure.

“We have a target figure of 850k for this coming year across all six leisure centres.

“But given the challenges of Newry swimming pool closure, do we feel that a target of 850k is still an accurate target that we should be aiming for or should that number be amended to reflect the possible impact of the pool closure?”

NMDDC elected members took the decision behind closed doors in March to close the swimming pool of Newry Leisure Centre to facilitate a programme of works for and estimated six months.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A council officer told the chamber that the target had been set earlier in the year, before the closure date was known.

The number of actual attendance in Newry Leisure Centre alone last year (2023-24) was 331,546.

The officer said: “The Audit Office always recommend that you shouldn’t be reducing targets, but if there is a reduction, then you can explain the reasons for it rather than set a lower limit.”

NMDDC chief executive, Marie Ward added: “I would suggest that when we’ve set our rate as well we rotate the income level at that point, so we are going to have to report throughout the impact of the closure of the pool.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I think we are better to let it remain as is, but report on the impact that the pool has created.

“It also helps the council to monitor clearly and accurately the impact that it has had against the targets.”

Related topics: